NFL draft is TV viewers’ No. 1 pick

Boston College offensive lineman Zion Johnson holds up a Chargers jersey with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
The NFL draft simulcast led last week’s Nielsen TV ratings. Pictured, the Chargers’ first-round pick, Boston College offensive lineman Zion Johnson, left, and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
(John Locher / Associated Press)

Even in April, NFL programming topped the prime-time ratings.

The combined average viewership of Thursday’s first round of the NFL draft simulcast on ESPN, ABC and NFL Network averaged 10.031 million viewers — 4.446 million on ESPN, 3.803 million on ABC and 1.782 million on NFL Network, according to live-plus-same-day figures released by Nielsen on Tuesday.

CBS had each of the three highest-ranked non-draft programs between April 25 and Sunday — “FBI,” which averaged 7.555 million viewers, “60 Minutes,” which averaged 7.532 million and “Young Sheldon,” which averaged 6.906 million.

CBS finished first for the 10th time in the last 10 weeks following and the 16th time in the 32-week-old 2021-22 television season — averaging 4.36 million viewers.

ABC returned to second after a week’s absence, averaging 3.3 million viewers. Its top-rated programs were the Sunday and Monday editions of “American Idol,” fifth and seventh for the week, averaging 6.566 million and 5.823 million viewers.


Sunday’s episode where contestants sang Disney songs drew its biggest audience of the season. An episode of “American Idol” has been at the top of ABC’s ratings in nine of the 10 weeks it has aired this season, with the only exception being the week ABC aired the Oscars.

NBC finished third among the broadcast networks for the ninth time in 10 weeks, averaging 2.83 million. With the network airing reruns of its three “Chicago” series, its most-watched program was the family drama “This Is Us,” 15th for the week averaging 4.927 million viewers.

Fox averaged 2.03 million viewers, topped by the procedural drama “9-1-1,” 13th for the week averaging 5.083 million viewers. “9-1-1” has been Fox’s most-watched program all five times an original episode has aired since March 21.

The CW averaged 410,000 viewers. The superhero drama “Superman & Lois,” was the CW’s most-watched program for the sixth time among its 10 original episodes this season, averaging 831,000 viewers, 134th among broadcast programs.

The top 20 prime-time programs consisted of 12 programs that aired on CBS — nine scripted series episodes, “60 Minutes,” the alternative series “Survivor” and the primetime special, “The Price is Right at Night”; three ABC alternative programs — two “American Idol” episodes and “America’s Funniest Home Videos”; NBC’s “This Is Us” and “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”; Fox’s “9-1-1” and “9-1-1: Lone Star” and ESPN’s coverage of the first round of the NFL draft.

The most popular cable program was ESPN’s coverage of the first round of the NFL draft, which averaged 4.446 million viewers, 19th overall.

Fox News Channel returned to the top of the cable ratings after a one-week absence, averaging 2.287 million viewers. TNT averaged 2.125 million to finish second, one week after finishing first.


ESPN was third for the third consecutive week, averaging 1.552 million.

The cable top 20 consisted of nine NBA playoff games — eight on TNT and one on ESPN; nine Fox News Channel political talk shows — four broadcasts each of “Tucker Carlson Tonight” and “Hannity” and one of “The Ingraham Angle”; and two NFL draft telecasts on ESPN.

The release of its final seven episodes made “Ozark” Netflix’s most-streamed English-language program, with viewers spending 78.4 million hours watching the 14 episodes of the fourth season of the crime drama, according to figures released by the streaming service.

The most popular English-language movie on Netflix was “365 Days: This Day,” with viewers spending 77.98 million hours watching the erotic thriller in its first five days of release.