‘Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time’ brings more than 14 million viewers to ABC

Host Alex Trebek, left, with contestants James Holzhauer, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter on "Jeopardy! Greatest of All Time."
(Eric McCandless/ABC)

The first three matches of “Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time” on ABC drew the largest audiences for prime-time entertainment programs during the 2019-20 television season with the exception of NBC’s Golden Globes telecast.

The first match, which aired Jan. 8, averaged 14.422 million viewers, the second (Jan. 9) averaged 14.872 million and the third (Jan. 10) averaged 15.548 million. Each of the first three episodes averaged more viewers than any of the first five games of Fox’s coverage of baseball’s World Series.

According to live-plus-three-days figures, the first episode averaged 16.1 million viewers, the second 16.5 million and the third 17 million.

Ken Jennings built an early lead on Tuesday night and weathered a late, Daily Double-fueled rush from James Holzhauer.


“FBI: Most Wanted” on CBS drew the largest audience for a series premiere during the 16-week-old season, averaging 7.196 million viewers, to finish first in its 10-11 p.m. time slot Jan. 7 and 17 among broadcast and cable prime-time programs airing between Jan. 6 and Sunday, according to live-plus-same-day figures released by Nielsen Tuesday.

The previous high was 6.048 million for the CBS comedy “The Unicorn” Sept. 26.

“FBI: Most Wanted” retained 77.2% of the audience of “FBI,” which preceded it, averaging 9.327 million viewers, first in its time slot and 10th for the week.

“FBI: Most Wanted’s” live-plus-three-day viewership figure of 9.67 million was larger than the premiere with the highest live-plus-seven-days figure, ABC’s “Stumptown,” 9.11 million.

The premiere of “Lincoln Rhyme: Hunt for the Bone Collector” drew NBC’s largest audience in the Friday 8-9 p.m. time slot with regular programming since the May 17 episode of “The Blacklist,” averaging 4.254 million viewers, second in the time slot and 44th for the week.

The week’s other premiere, the NBC high-concept drama “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” was third in its 10-11 p.m. time slot Jan. 7 and 81st for the week, averaging 2.665 million viewers. It retained 57% of the 4.672-million audience of “Ellen’s Game of Games” that preceded it.

Fox’s coverage of Sunday’s Green Bay Packers-Seattle Seahawks NFL playoff earned the highest ratings of any prime-time program this season, 37.244 million viewers, topping the previous high of 31.417 million for CBS’ coverage of the New England Patriots NFL playoff game Jan. 4.

CBS had the week’s third highest-ranked prime-time program, Saturday’s Baltimore Ravens-Tennessee Titans NFL playoff game, which averaged 29.412 million viewers, and five of the top six scripted programs to finish first in the network race for the second consecutive week and fourth time this season, averaging 9.51 million viewers for its 22 hours of prime-time programming.

Fox’s weekly average benefits by only broadcasting one night a week in the 10-11 p.m. time slot, which the other broadcast networks generally use for hourlong dramas and newsmagazines, which lower their weekly averages.

Playback of programming recorded earlier in the evening peaks from 10-11 p.m., also depressing the viewership for programming airing in that time slot.

Fox’s highest-rated program outside of its NFL programming was the animated comedy “Bob’s Burgers,” which averaged 5.757 million viewers following a second postgame show, 31st for the week.

NBC’s highest-rated program was the season premiere of “America’s Got Talent: The Champions,” 11th for the week, averaging 8.066 million viewers.

The week’s highest-rated prime-time cable program was the Tuesday edition of Fox News Channel’s political talk show “Hannity,” which averaged 5.767 million viewers, 30th overall.

Fox News Channel was the highest-rated cable network, averaging 3.156 million, more than the combined total of its cable news rivals, MSNBC, second among cable networks, averaging 1.703 million viewers, and CNN, sixth for the week, averaging 1.073 million.

TLC was third among cable networks, averaging 1.211 million.