CBS’ ‘Equalizer’ and State of the Union speech draw top TV ratings

Queen Latifah has her hands full in a scene from "The Equalizer" on CBS."
Queen Latifah in “The Equalizer” on CBS.”
(Michael Greenberg/CBS)
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“The Equalizer,” on CBS, was the highest-rated entertainment program in a week in which the four major English-language broadcast networks preempted programming for coverage of President Biden’s State of the Union address.

The crime drama was third among prime-time programs between Feb. 28 and Sunday, averaging 7.13 million viewers, trailing news magazine “60 Minutes,” which precedes it and which averaged 7.99 million, and Fox News Channel’s airing of President Biden’s address, which averaged 7.21 million, according to live-plus-same-day figures released by Nielsen on Tuesday.

Last Tuesday’s State of the Union address averaged 38.2 million viewers on 16 networks; Biden’s address to a joint session of Congress on April 28, 2021 averaged 26.94 million viewers. The speech a president delivers to Congress in his first year in office is not considered a State of the Union address.


Donald Trump’s final State of the Union address in 2020 averaged 37.17 million viewers.

There were two other prime-time entertainment programs that averaged more than 7 million viewers. The CBS action drama “NCIS” was fourth for the week, averaging 7.12 million viewers, and the NBC medical drama “Chicago Med” was fifth, averaging 7.05 million viewers.

CBS’ popular scripted programming helped it to its second straight first-place finish since the end of the Winter Olympics and eighth of the 24-week-old 2021-22 prime-time television season, averaging 4.56 million viewers.

ABC was second, averaging 3.87 million viewers, followed by cable’s Fox News Channel, which averaged 3.51 million, and NBC, which averaged 3.2 million, all for 22 hours of prime-time programming.

Fox averaged 1.88 million viewers for its 15 hours, 48 minutes of prime-time programming. The CW averaged 500,000 for its 14 hours of prime-time programming.

“Young Sheldon,” on CBS, was the top-ranked comedy for the 22nd consecutive week, averaging 6.48 million viewers, 10th for the week. The CBS police drama “Blue Bloods” was the most-watched show in the 10 p.m. time slot for the 12th time in the season, averaging 5.9 million viewers, 14th overall.

“Ghosts,” also on CBS, was the most popular first-season series for the seventh time, averaging 5.52 million viewers, 17th overall.


“American Idol” was ABC’s ratings leader for the second time in the two weeks it has aired this season, finishing eighth, averaging 6.57 million viewers, 4.4% more than the 6.3 million average for its season premiere.

The procedural drama “9-1-1: Lone Star” led Fox’s ratings for the second consecutive week and fourth time in five weeks, averaging 4.82 million viewers, 27th overall.

The crime drama “Walker” was the CW’s biggest draw for the seventh time in its 10 episodes this season, averaging 897,000 viewers, 138th among broadcast programs. Its overall rank was not available.

The only premiere on the five major English-language broadcast networks, the NBC dating series “The Courtship,” finished 133rd among broadcast programs, averaging 988,000.

The top 20 prime-time programs consisted of five State of the Union address-related programs on Fox News Channel and one on ABC; “60 Minutes” and eight CBS entertainment programs; the three episodes of NBC’s Chicago franchise — “Chicago Med,” “Chicago Fire” and “Chicago P.D.”; and two ABC alternative programs “American Idol” and “America’s Funniest Home Videos” which precedes it.

Fox News Channel had each of the six most-watched prime-time programs and nine of the top 10 to win the cable network race for the seventh consecutive week, averaging 3.51 million viewers. CNN was second for the second consecutive week, averaging 1.81 million viewers.


MSNBC was third for the ninth consecutive week, averaging 1.67 million viewers.

The cable top 20 consisted of nine State of the Union address programs — five on Fox News Channel, three on CNN and one on MSNBC; 10 Fox News Channel political talk shows — five broadcasts of “Tucker Carlson Tonight” and four of “Hannity” and one of “The Ingraham Angle”; and ESPN’s coverage of the 35-minute ceremony following the final game for Duke men’s basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski at Cameron Indoor Stadium.