Oprah interview with Harry and Meghan gives CBS a ratings win

Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, in conversation with Oprah Winfrey.
Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, helped lift CBS to the top of the ratings.
(Associated Press)

“Oprah With Meghan and Harry: A CBS Primetime Special” drew the second-largest audience for an entertainment program since the 2020 Oscar broadcast, trailing only CBS’ post-Super Bowl premiere of “The Equalizer.”

The two-hour interview that aired Sunday averaged 17.81 million viewers, according to live-plus-same-day figures released Tuesday by Nielsen.

CBS also had the only other prime-time program between March 1 and Sunday to average more than 10 million viewers: “60 Minutes,” which averaged 10.04 million viewers, 23.5% more than its 8.13 million average the previous week when it was first for the week.

CBS had the highest ratings for any scripted program with the action drama “NCIS,” third for the week averaging 9.61 million, and for a comedy with “Young Sheldon,” fifth for the week averaging 7.71 million.

As a result, CBS finished first in the network race for the seventh consecutive week and ninth time in the 24-week-old 2020-21 television season, averaging 6.02 million viewers.


Mirroring the performance of the five major English-language broadcast networks from the previous five weeks, ABC was second, averaging 3.47 million viewers, and NBC third, averaging 3.21 million. Fox was fourth, averaging 2.49 million viewers. The CW was fifth, averaging 570,000 for its 13 hours.

The two-hour spring season premiere of the NBC singing competition “The Voice” had the highest rating for any program not on CBS, averaging 7.90 million viewers, fourth for the week. An hourlong edition the following night was eighth, averaging 6.36 million viewers.

The procedural drama “9-1-1” drew Fox’s biggest audience for the seventh consecutive week, averaging 6.41 million viewers, seventh for the week.

ABC’s top-ranked program was “Celebrity Wheel of Fortune,” 13th for the week, averaging 5.72 million viewers.

For the second time in two weeks the new superhero drama “Superman & Lois” was the CW’s biggest draw, averaging 1.24 million viewers, 104th among broadcast programs.

The only scripted premiere on the five major broadcast networks, the NBC science fiction series “Debris” was first in its 10 p.m. time slot March 1, fourth among the week’s shows beginning at 10 p.m. and 23rd overall, averaging 4.38 million viewers, following the spring season premiere of “The Voice.”

The premiere of the six-episode ABC News magazine “Soul of a Nation,” averaged 1.91 million viewers, 65th among broadcast programs.

Despite drawing a record-low audience, Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game was the week’s top-rated prime-time cable program. Simulcast on TNT and TBS it averaged 5.94 million viewers, 10th for the week.

Fox News Channel was the most-watched cable channel in prime time for the sixth consecutive week, averaging 2.37 million viewers. MSNBC was second for the second consecutive week, averaging 1.88 million.

Coverage of the NBA All-Star Game, Skills Challenge and 3-Point Contest lifted TNT to third, five spots higher than the previous week, averaging 1.41 million viewers, 59.4% higher than its 887,000 average the previous week.

CNN was fourth after five consecutive third-place finishes, averaging 1.25 million viewers, 2.8% less than its 1.28 million average the previous week.

MSNBC had nine of the top 20 prime-time cable programs, Fox News Channel had eight, TNT two and the History Channel one.

“Firefly Lane” topped the Feb. 1-7 list of the top 10 streamed programs, with viewers watching 1.31 billion minutes of the 10-episode Netflix drama in the first five days it was available.

‘WandaVision” was seventh, with viewers watching 589 million minutes of the first five episodes of the Disney+ blend of classic television and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It was the only non-Netflix program in the top 10.