TV viewers can’t get enough ‘Harry & Meghan,’ but NFL still wins ratings race

A man and a woman look off in different directions
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, visit the track and field event at the Invictus Games in the Hague, Netherlands, on April 17, 2022.
(Peter Dejong / Associated Press)

“Harry & Meghan” set a Netflix viewership record for a documentary title, with viewers worldwide spending 81.55 million hours watching the first three episodes in the first four days they were available, according to figures released by the streaming service Tuesday.

The series profiling Prince Harry and wife Meghan Markle was Netflix’s second most-streamed program between Dec. 5-11 behind “Wednesday.” The eight episodes of the supernatural-infused mystery charting Wednesday Addams’ years at Nevermore Academy were watched for 269.67 million hours in their third week of release, one week after they were watched for 411.29 million hours, the most for an English-language television series in the service’s history.

“Wednesday” was watched for 1.02 billion hours in its 19 days of release through Sunday, the third Netflix program to top the 1-billion-hours mark within its first 28 days, joining the fourth season of “Stranger Things” and “Squid Game.”


“Troll” was Netflix’s most popular movie, with 52.27 million hours watched in its first full week of release, one week after it set the record for most hours viewed for a non-English-language film when viewers spent 75.86 million hours watching the Norwegian action-adventure film in the first four days it was available.

“Yellowstone” was the top-ranked entertainment program for the fifth time in the five weeks of its fifth season and the week’s highest rated non-sports program, averaging a combined 9.064 million viewers on Paramount Network and CMT. It placed fifth for the week behind two NFL games, the 10-minute “Sunday Night Football” pre-kickoff show and Fox’s 28-minute NFL postgame show, “The OT.”

NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” drew its second-smallest audience of the season’s 14 games but still led the prime-time ratings for the week of Dec. 5-11, with the Chargers’ 23-17 victory over the Miami Dolphins averaging 15.757 million viewers.

An NFL program has topped the ratings each week of the 12-week-old 2022-23 prime-time television season.

The combination of “Sunday Night Football” and three of broadcast television’s four top entertainment programs put NBC atop the network ratings for the 10th time in the season, averaging 5.57 million viewers.

The only weeks NBC did not win this season came when Fox aired coverage of the World Series.


The Tuesday edition of NBC’s singing competition “The Voice” was 11th, averaging 6.479 million viewers.

CBS was second, averaging 4.25 million. Fox was third, averaging 2.77 million viewers. ABC was fourth, averaging 2.73 million.

Fox’s average included a 32-minute runover of its afternoon NFL coverage into prime time in the Eastern and Central time zones, where the bulk of the nation’s population lives. The viewership figure for runover was not available.

CBS’ ratings leader was “60 Minutes,” averaging 7.825 million viewers to finish seventh overall and second among non-NFL programs.

CBS also had the top comedy, the most popular program beginning at 10 p.m. and the highest-ranked new series.

“Young Sheldon” averaged 7.179 million viewers, eighth overall and third among non-NFL programs. “Young Sheldon” has led all comedies for each of its eight first-run episodes this season.


“Blue Bloods” averaged 6.057 million viewers, 15th for the week and 10th among non-NFL programs. The Tom Selleck-starring police drama has been the highest-rated 10 p.m. show for all eight of its first-run episodes this season.

“Fire Country” averaged 5.59 million viewers, 16th for the week and 11th among non-NFL programs. It has been the most-watched new series for six of its eight episodes.

Fox’s ratings leader was “The OT,” fourth for the week, averaging 9.508 million viewers. Its non-sports programs were led by “The Simpsons,” which followed “The OT” and was 35th, averaging 3.419 million viewers.

ABC’s ratings were topped by “Celebrity Wheel of Fortune,” 30th for the week, averaging 3.839 million viewers.

The CW averaged 440,000 viewers. Its biggest draw was a rerun of the 2019 Christmas special “Penn & Teller: Merry Fool Us,” which averaged 593,000 viewers, 170th among broadcast programming. Its overall ranking was not available.

The top 20 prime-time programs consisted of two NFL games; three NFL pregame shows; “The OT”; “Yellowstone”; “60 Minutes”; six CBS scripted programs and its alternative series “Survivor”; all three elements of NBC’s “Chicago” franchise; and both episodes of the NBC singing competition “The Voice.”


The Dec. 5 “Monday Night Football” game on ESPN topped the cable rankings, with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 17-16 victory over the New Orleans Saints averaging 10.132 million viewers, third for the week.

Fox News Channel was at the top of the cable network rankings, averaging 2.132 million viewers. ESPN finished second following five first-place finishes in six weeks, averaging 2.066 million viewers. MSNBC was third, averaging 1.405 million viewers.

Hallmark Channel was the only other cable network to average more than 1 million viewers for its prime-time programming, averaging 1.3 million viewers.

The cable top 20 consisted of “Monday Night Football” and its 13-minute kickoff show; “Yellowstone”; 10 Fox News Channel weeknight political talk shows (five broadcasts of “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” four of “Hannity” and one of “The Ingraham Angle”); the three hourlong segments of MSNBC’s coverage of the results of the Georgia Senate election; the Hallmark Channel movie “Christmas Class Reunion”; History’s long-running chronicle of a search for treasure on a Canadian island, “The Curse of Oak Island”; the miniseries about country singing stars George Jones and Tammy Wynette, “George & Tammy,” which aired on Paramount Network, Showtime and CMT; and MSNBC news and opinion program “The Rachel Maddow Show.”

Sunday’s second-season finale of the black comedy-drama anthology “The White Lotus” averaged a combined 4.1 million viewers on HBO and streaming on HBO Max, according to a combination of figures from Nielsen and the streaming service. The audience was the largest among this season’s seven episodes. There were 28 broadcast and cable programs during the week with larger audiences, including 20 entertainment programs.