Given all the attention it has received over the past two years, the actual release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report wasn’t exactly appointment television viewing.
The ABC, CBS and NBC broadcast networks and the cable’s CNN, Fox News Channel and MSNBC collectively averaged 12.7 million viewers last Thursday when the redacted report on Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election was put out, the Nielsen company said. Nielsen measured the three cable networks between 9:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. EDT, and the two separate special reports aired on each of the broadcast networks within that period.
To put that in some perspective, the ABC, CBS and NBC nightly newscasts collectively reached 20.2 million viewers that night — and that was less than the shows averaged for the full week.
When Attorney General William Barr gave his verbal summary of the Mueller report starting at 9:30, viewership on ABC and CBS was lower than typical daytime programming in that hour, Nielsen said.
For the coverage overall until 1 p.m., Fox News Channel led the way with an average of 2.78 million viewers. CBS, whose second special report was shorter than its rivals, averaged 2.52 million. NBC had 2.19 million, ABC had 2.06 million, MSNBC had 2.01 million and CNN had 1.17 million, Nielsen said.
CBS easily won the week in prime-time, averaging 6 million viewers. ABC had 4.4 million viewers, NBC had 3.6 million, Fox had 2.5 million, ION Television has 1.3 million, Telemundo had 1.25 million, Univision had 1.17 million and the CW had 840,000.
Fox News Channel was the week’s most popular cable network, averaging 2.41 million viewers in prime time. TNT had 2.2 million, MSNBC had 1.72 million, HGTV had 1.17 million and USA had 1.12 million.
ABC’s “World News Tonight” topped the evening newscasts with an average of 8.1 million viewers. NBC’s “Nightly News” had 7.7 million and the “CBS Evening News” had 5.7 million.
For the week of April 15-21, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: “NCIS,” CBS, 11.89 million; “The Big Bang Theory,” CBS, 11.45 million; “Game of Thrones,” HBO, 10.29 million; “FBI,” CBS, 8.77 million; “60 Minutes,” CBS, 8.47 million; “Survivor,” CBS, 7.9 million; “The Voice” (Monday), NBC, 7.66 million; “The Voice” (Tuesday), NBC, 7.18 million; “American Idol” (Sunday), ABC, 7.114 million; “America Idol” (Monday), ABC, 7.106 million.
ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co. CBS is owned by CBS Corp. CW is a joint venture of Warner Bros. Entertainment and CBS Corp. Fox is owned by Fox Corp. NBC and Telemundo are owned by Comcast Corp. ION Television is owned by ION Media Networks.