UPDATED, 11:01 AM: With a rebroadcast tonight on CBS, the final numbers are not totally in for the agenda-setting Oprah with Meghan and Harry: A CBS Primetime Special. However, the March 7 royal sit-down now has clenched the crown of most-watched nonsports show of the television season so far.
The release today of Live+3 delayed-viewing data has pushed the eyeballs on the scandal-filled Palace BTS Q&A to 21.3 million. If that number doesn’t cause you to bow or curtsey, get ready for the global audience that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex snared with the Queen of Talk.
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A whopping 61 million around planet have tuned in so far to the Harpo Productions special that was licensed to CBS domestically. Oprah with Meghan and Harry was distributed internationally by ViacomCBS Global Distribution to dozens of markets. In the UK alone, the Megxit special garnered a massive 11.3 million viewers.
And there’s clearly more to come.
PREVIOUSLY, MARCH 8: Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are no Stormy Daniels and certainly no Michael Jackson, but their sit-down with Oprah Winfrey on Sunday night was certainly a royal payoff for CBS.
The two-hour Oprah with Meghan and Harry: A CBS Primetime Special pulled in 2.6 rating among adults 18-49 and 17.1 million viewers for the network in early numbers.
Or put another way, right now, that’s more eyeballs than last September’s Primetime Emmys and last week’s Golden Globes put together. Coming in low, the awards ceremonies had 6.4 million and 6.9 million viewers, respectively, and ratings of 1.3 and 1.5 when the dust settled and the final numbers were in. That’s 22% less than the early numbers for Meghan and Harry in total audience and basically even with the Emmys and the Globes’ demo results added up.
In fact, with the exception of the 20.4 million who saw the post-Super Bowl debut of Queen Latifah’s The Equalizer, Meghan and Harry has been awarded the largest non-sports audience of the 2020-2021 TV season so far. And remember, those numbers for the Harpo Productions show will likely increase as adjusted data, out-of-home viewing and delayed viewing metrics come in over the next day or so. We will update accordingly.
In terms of audience, Sunday’s interview snagged exactly the same viewership as Diane Sawyer’s 2015 sit-down with the then-transitioning Bruce Jenner. That 20/20: Bruce Jenner – The Interview had a 6.8 rating in the key demo in the final numbers. In early data, the Jenner interview had 16.9 million viewers – which means Harry, Meghan and Oprah are on track to best it.
However, in terms of American royalty, the sixth in line for the British throne and his ex-Suits star spouse were no match for Michael Jackson. When Oprah chatted with the Thriller superstar in 1993 for ABC, the live interview captured a crowd of 62 million.
Back in CBS’ winner’s circle, a 2008 post-election interview with Barack and Michelle Obama scored 25.1 million viewers for 60 Minutes and the big-get network.
More recently, in the realpolitik of America, Anderson Cooper’s 2018 60 Minutes interview with Stormy Daniels over the porn star’s relationship with Donald Trump had a viewership of 21.3 million in the final numbers. To put some further context on that presidential scandal, Cooper’s Q&A with Daniels was about seen by about 1.5 million fewer UK viewers than watched Princess Diana’s stunning revelations about her life and the Royal family to Martin Bashir and the BBC in 1995.
At the time, that interview with Harry’s Mum was seen as rocking the royal household …after last night’s claims of racism and more, Diana’s chat seems almost quaint, almost.
Along with a repeat of The Equalizer, CBS easily won primetime overall Sunday, a night that saw the premiere of NBC’s Good Girls (0.4, 1.63M) and the CW’s three-hour Critics Choice Awards (0.1, 370,000).
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