NBA All-Star Game tops prime time cable while Olympics continue run

A man, right, dribbles a basketball past another man
Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James drives against Charlotte Hornets’ LaMelo Ball during the first half of the NBA All-Star basketball game, which topped the prime-time cable rankings.
(Ron Schwane / Associated Press)
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“60 Minutes” was last week’s top ranked non-Olympics program and the only one to average more than 6 million viewers.

The CBS News magazine averaged 6.975 million viewers, fifth among prime-time programs airing between Feb. 14 and Sunday according to live-plus-same-day figures released by Nielsen Wednesday. It was the 11th time in the 22-week-old 2021-22 television season it was the highest rated non-sports program.

NBC’s Winter Olympics programming accounted for 10 of the top 11 programs, with the Feb. 15 broadcast featuring the women’s figure skating short program finishing first for the week, averaging 8.711 million viewers.


NBC averaged 7.23 million viewers for its nearly all-Olympics prime-time schedule, 49% less than the 14.19 million average for the final week of the 2018 Pyeongchang Games. NBC’s lone non-Olympics prime-time program for the week was the half-hour premiere of “America’s Got Talent: Extreme” that averaged 3.111 million viewers following Sunday’s closing ceremony, 38th for the week.

NBC averaged a record-low 10.7 million viewers for its 18 nights of Winter Olympics coverage, 40% less than the previous record low of 17.8 million for the Pyeongchang Games. What NBC has dubbed the Total Audience Delivery — which includes cable and digital viewership — was 11.4 million, 42.4% less than the 19.8 million figure for the Pyeongchang Games.

Viewership for nearly all broadcast and cable programming is down compared to the past, mainly because of increased viewing of streaming programming, including programming originally airing on traditional television.

CBS finished second for the week, averaging 3 million viewers, followed by ABC, which averaged 2.65 million. Fox averaged 1.99 million and The CW averaged 330,000.

Fox’s ratings leaders were its Daytona 500 post-race show which averaged 5.423 million viewers, 14th for the week, and the procedural drama, “9-1-1: Lone Star,” 15th for the week averaging 4.952 million viewers.

Four episodes of “Jeopardy! National College Championship” led ABC’s rankings, topped by the Thursday episode which was 16th for the week, averaging 4.817 million viewers.


A rerun of the unscripted magic competition series “Penn & Teller: Fool Us” was The CW’s biggest draw, averaging 576,000 viewers, 179th among broadcast programs. Its overall rank was not available.

The top 20 prime-time programs consisted of 11 NBC Olympics programs; “60 Minutes,” “Price is Right at Night” and a rerun of “Young Sheldon” on CBS; Fox’s Daytona 500 post-race show and “9-1-1: Lone Star”; three episodes of “Jeopardy! National College Championship” on ABC and the coverage of the NBA All-Star Game on TNT and TBS.

Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game was at the top of prime-time cable ratings, averaging a combined 6.284 million viewers on TNT and TBS, 12th overall for the week. The audience was 5.7% larger than the combined record-low audience among available figures of 5.943 million for the 2021 All-Star Game.

Fox News Channel won the cable network race for the fifth consecutive week following four consecutive second-place finishes behind ESPN, averaging 2.423 million viewers. TNT was second, averaging 2.013 million. MSNBC was third for the seventh consecutive week, averaging 1.047 million.

CNN was 16th, two spots higher than the previous week, averaging 573,000 viewers, 20.4% more than the 476,000 viewers it averaged the previous week.

CNN also trailed HGTV (1.08 million), Hallmark Channel (968,000), USA Network (950,000), History (921,000), TLC (889,000), ESPN (829,000), Food Network (699,000), Discovery (683,000), TBS (656,000), Paramount Network (637,000), Lifetime (593,000) and Investigation Discovery (581,000).


The top 20 prime-time cable programs were: NBA All-Star Game, NBA All-Star Saturday Night and the two-hour, 21-minute “NBA Tip-Off” pregame show on TNT; 14 Fox News Channel political talk shows — five broadcasts of both “Tucker Carlson Tonight” and “Hannity” and four of “The Ingraham Angle”; the Hallmark Channel movie “The Wedding Veil Legacy”; History’s long-running chronicle of a search for treasure on a Canadian island, “The Curse of Oak Island”; and the TLC series about couples who have built a relationship online but not met in person, “90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days.”

“The Tinder Swindler” was the most-streamed English-language movie on Netflix for the third consecutive week, with viewers spending 34.45 million hours watching the true crime documentary in its second full week of release, according to figures released by the streaming service.

Netflix’s most popular television program for the second consecutive week was “Inventing Anna,” with viewers spending 195.97 million hours watching its first full week of release.

Viewership was up 153.49% from the 77.31 million hours watched the previous week when the nine-episode limited series about a reporter (Anna Chlumsky) investigating an Instagram-legendary German heiress (Julia Garner) who stole the hearts of New York’s social scene and their money was available for three days.