LOS ANGELES (AP) — CBS’ “60 Minutes” proved it still has the moves in its 50th year to dominate the ratings.
The news magazine’s interview with Stormy Daniels, the adult film star alleging a 2006 sexual encounter with Donald Trump, was the most-watched prime-time program for the week with 22.1 million viewers.
That’s double the nearly 11 million viewers the show has been averaging this season and gave “60 Minutes” its best showing since 2008, when 25 million tuned in to see President-elect Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle.
Daniels, who’s in a firefight with President Trump’s lawyers over telling her story — denied by Trump — was a big draw, but “60 Minutes” got a March Madness boost from the NCAA Duke-Kansas contest that preceded it.
The game’s overtime win that sent the Kansas Jayhawks to the Final Four also funneled Eastern and Central viewers directly into the program.
There was a “misconception” that the Daniels segment was being held to coincide with the NCCA tournament finals, said Jeff Fager, “60 Minutes” executive producer.
“We had planned it for (March 25) from the moment we decided to do the story. Part of it was we knew the 25th would be a good night for it, but we also needed that period of time” to properly report it, he said.
That a news show born in 1968 can be No. 1 is “an affirmation of what we do and how we go about doing it,” Fager said.
“I’m proud that people who are big newsmakers want to come to ’60 Minutes’ because it’s credible, they know they’re going to have handle tough questions but at the same time they will be treated fairly,” he said.
CBS was the most-watched broadcast network in prime time last week, averaging 7.49 million viewers. NBC had 5.26 million, ABC had 4.78 million, Fox had 2.68 million, Univision had 1.51 million, ION Television had 1.43 million, Telemundo had 1.09 million and the CW had 890,000.
On the cable side, the NCAA men’s basketball tournament boosted TBS into first place with 3.21 million viewers, followed by Fox News with 2.23 million, MSNBC with 1.96 million, HGTV with 1.49 and CNN with 1.2 million.
ABC’s “World News Tonight” topped the evening newscasts with an average of 9 million viewers. NBC’s “Nightly News” had 8.7 million and the “CBS Evening News” had 6.9 million.
For the week of March 19-25, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: “60 Minutes,” CBS, 22.1 million; “The Voice” (Tuesday), NBC, 10.9 million; “The Voice” (Monday), NBC, 10.7 million; “Instinct,” CBS, 10.2 million; NCAA Basketball: Florida State vs. Michigan, TBS, 9.7 million; “The Good Doctor,” ABC, 8.9 million; NCAA Basketball (bridge show between games), TBS, 8.76 million; “Survivor,” CBS, 8.6 million; “NCIS: Los Angeles, CBS, 8.58 million; NCAA Basketball: Kentucky vs. Kansas State, CBS, 8.29 million.
ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co. CBS is owned by CBS Corp. CW is a joint venture of Warner Bros. Entertainment and CBS Corp. Fox is owned by 21st Century Fox. NBC and Telemundo are owned by Comcast Corp. ION Television is owned by ION Media Networks.