Jan. 6 hearing coverage, NBA Finals lead the TV ratings race

Two men and a woman sit at a congressional hearing with American flags behind them.
Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-Redlands), left, Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Burbank) and Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose) at Thursday’s House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th hearing, broadcast in prime time on the East Coast.
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

Viewership for Thursday’s coverage of the House Select Committee’s hearing on the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol was the most-watched prime-time program since President Biden’s State of the Union address March 1.

The approximately two-hour hearing averaged 20.043 million viewers on the 11 networks where figures were available, according to Nielsen. The figure did not include viewership on PBS due to PBS data delivery timing. The State of the Union address averaged 38.197 million viewers on 16 networks.

The individual ratings were led by ABC’s coverage, which averaged 5.216 million viewers, fifth for the week.


MSNBC’s second hour of coverage was the week’s top-ranked prime-time cable program, averaging 4.42 million viewers, sixth for the week. Fox News Channel aired its customary weeknight lineup of political talk shows while broadcasting the hearing on Fox Business Network.

ABC’s coverage of Game 4 of the NBA Finals was second for the week, with the Golden State Warriors’ 107-97 victory over the Boston Celtics Friday averaging a series-high 12.063 million viewers.

Boston’s 116-100 Game 3 victory two nights earlier finished third, averaging 11.523 million viewers.

The NBA finals is averaging 11.725 million viewers, the lowest when held during their customary time since 2007, but 26% higher than the 9.303 million average for the first four games of the series between the Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns, which were played in July.

For the second time in the two full weeks of television’s summer season, NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” was the top-ranked entertainment program, averaging 6.372 million viewers, third for the week.

ABC won the network race for the second consecutive week, averaging 4.09 million viewers. Outside of its NBA Finals programming and House Select Committee hearing coverage, its most-watched program was a rerun of “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” averaging 3.735 million viewers.

CBS was second, averaging 3.25 million, and NBC third, averaging 2.67 million.

Fox averaged 1.44 million viewers. “MasterChef” was its ratings leader for the second consecutive week, averaging 2.159 million viewers to finish 56th.

The CW averaged 430,000 viewers. Its biggest draw for the second consecutive week was the crime drama “Walker,” which averaged 894,000 viewers, 114th among broadcast programs. Its overall rank was not available.


The top 20 prime-time programs between June 6 and Sunday consisted of five programs covering the House Select Committee hearing — two hourlong programs on MSNBC and live coverage on ABC, NBC and CBS; two NBA Finals games and two pregame shows; reruns of five CBS scripted programs; two CBS game shows, “Let’s Make a Deal Primetime” and “The Price Is Right at Night”; the CBS newsmagazine “60 Minutes”; CBS’ coverage of the Tony Awards; NBC’s “America’s Got Talent”; and a rerun of ABC’s “America’s Funniest Home Videos.”

Fox News Channel was the top-ranked cable network in prime time for the second consecutive week, averaging 2.226 million viewers. ESPN was second, averaging 1.701 million viewers. MSNBC was the only other cable network to average more than 1 million viewers for its prime-time programming, averaging 1.394 million viewers.

The cable top 20 consisted of five segments of coverage of the House Select Committee hearing on MSNBC and CNN; three NHL Eastern Conference Finals games on ESPN; and 12 Fox News Channel political talk shows — five broadcasts each of “Tucker Carlson Tonight” and “Hannity” and two broadcasts of “The Ingraham Angle.”

The fourth season of “Stranger Things” was Netflix’s most-streamed program for the third time in the three weeks it has been available, with viewers spending 159.24 million hours watching its seven episodes in their second full week of release, 52.5% less than the 335.01 million hours watched the previous week, according to figures released by the streaming service.

The season was watched for 781.04 million hours in its 17 days of release through Sunday. That breaks the previous record of the most for an English-language television series on Netflix in its first 28 days of release, which was 656.26 million hours for the second season of the steamy period drama “Bridgerton.”

“Hustle” was Netflix’s most-watched movie, with viewers spending 84.58 million hours watching the Adam Sandler-starring basketball drama in its first five days of release.