Carol Burnett wins the week and Fox News ratings drop without Carlson

Carol Burnett, left, with Katy Perry in “Carol Burnett: 90 Years of Laughter + Love” on CBS
Carol Burnett, left, with Katy Perry in “Carol Burnett: 90 Years of Laughter + Love” on CBS
(Casey Durkin/NBC)

Fox News Channel’s prime-time viewership in its first week without Tucker Carlson dropped 29.6% from the previous week.

Fox News Channel averaged 1.449 million viewers for its prime-time programming between April 24 and Sunday, third among cable networks, according to live-plus-same-day figures released by Nielsen on Tuesday. It averaged 2.058 million viewers the previous week when it did not have to face coverage of the NFL draft for two nights.

Fox News Channel had none of the week’s top 10 cable programs and only three in the 20 — two editions of “Hannity” and the first edition of “Fox News Tonight,” the network’s replacement for “Tucker Carlson Tonight” in the weeknight 8 p.m. time slot. The previous week Fox News had eight of the top 20 — five episode of “Tucker Carlson Tonight” (two of those in the top 10) and three episodes of “Hannity.” In Carlson’s final week before being fired, the final five editions of “Tucker Carlson Tonight” accounted for each of Fox News Channel’s five largest prime-time audiences.


The rest of the top 20 cable prime-time programs consisted of ESPN’s coverage of the first round the NFL draft, 10 NBA playoff games — eight on TNT and two on ESPN; Friday’s “NBA Courtside” on ESPN; two NHL playoff games on TNT; the MSNBC news and opinion program, “The Rachel Maddow Show”; History’s “The Curse of Oak Island” and “The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch.”

NBA playoff coverage made TNT the most-watched cable network for the second consecutive week, averaging 3.178 million viewers. The combination of the NFL draft and NBA playoff coverage lifted ESPN one spot to second among cable networks, averaging 2.26 million viewers, 50.8% more than its 1.499 million average the previous week.

MSNBC was fourth for the second consecutive week, averaging 1.171 million viewers, 5.4% more than its 1.111 million average the previous week.

Coverage of the first round of the NFL draft was the week’s most-watched prime-time program, with a combined 11.4 million viewers watching on ESPN, ABC, NFL Network, ESPN Deportes and digital channels, an 11% increase over the 10.3 million viewers for the first round of the 2022 draft.

ESPN’s Thursday coverage of the first round of the NFL draft was also the week’s most-watched prime-time cable program averaging 5.622 million viewers, seventh among all prime-time programs.

Nielsen on Tuesday restated the viewership for Fox’s coverage of Super Bowl LVII to 115.1 million viewers on Fox, Fox Deportes and digital streaming services, the most for a Super Bowl, breaking the previous record of 114.4 million for NBC’s telecast of the New England Patriots’ 28-24 victory over the Seattle Seahawks in 2015.


The revision was the result of a review by Nielsen that revealed irregularities in the encoding that enables Nielsen’s measurement of television viewing as well as issues with the measurement of out-of-home viewing of the Kansas City Chiefs’ 38-35 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles, each of which accounted for about 1 million additional viewers when resovled.

The top-ranked individual prime-time program was “Carol Burnett: 90 Years of Laughter + Love,” the two-hour NBC special that averaged 7.597 million viewers. It was the sixth time in the 32-week-old 2022-23 prime-time television season that an entertainment program finished first for the week. The other five were two episodes of the CBS comedy “Young Sheldon,” one episode of the NBC drama “Chicago Fire,” the Oscars and Grammys.

CBS had each of the next four most popular programs — “Young Sheldon,” “60 Minutes,” “FBI” and “Ghosts” — to win the network battle for the seventh consecutive week, 10th time in 11 weeks and 12th time in 14, averaging 3.87 million viewers.

ABC was second for the third consecutive week following four consecutive third-place finishes, averaging 3.26 million viewers. Its top-ranked program was “American Idol,” sixth for the week, averaging 5.921 million viewers.

NBC was third among the broadcast networks for the third consecutive week after four consecutive second-place finishes, averaging 3.19 million viewers.

Fox averaged 1.87 million viewers. The procedural drama “9-1-1” was its ratings leader, averaging 4.534 million viewers, 16th for the week and 13th among non-sports programming. Each of the six original episodes of “9-1-1” to air in 2023 have topped Fox’s prime-time weekly ratings.


The CW averaged 380,000 viewers. The superhero drama “Superman & Lois” was its biggest draw for the fifth time in the six weeks it has aired this season, averaging 614,000 viewers, 152nd among broadcast programs. Its overall ranking was not available.

The 20 prime-time programs consisted of “Carol Burnett: 90 Years of Laughter + Love”; six CBS scripted programs, its alternative series “Survivor” and newsmagazine “60 Minutes”; the two editions of “American Idol”; coverage of the first round of the NFL draft on ESPN and ABC; NBC’s singing competition “The Voice” and “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”; four NBA playoff games — two each on ESPN and TNT; and “9-1-1.”

“The Diplomat” was Netflix’s most-streamed title for the second consecutive week, with viewers watching the eight episodes of the Keri Russell-starring thriller for 66.46 million hours in its first full week of release, 15.6% more than the 57.48 million hours the previous week when they were available for four days.

The action thriller “AKA” was Netflix’s most popular movie with 32.53 million viewing hours in its first three days of release.