As he has been almost all week, the former Apprentice host and GOP Presidential candidate was the main attraction on TV on Thursday and came out a winner in at least one contest. Last night’s primetime had a media match-up that saw Donald Trump able to solidly claim a head-to-head win over the current occupant of the White House.
Unsurprisingly, Trump was one of those who made the list in the 9:30 – 11 PM Barbara Walters Presents: The 10 Most Fascinating People of 2015 (1.0/4) on ABC. At almost the same time President Barack Obama took the glaciers of Alaska on a special Running Wild With Bear Grylls (0.9/3) on NBC at 10 PM to emphasis the dangers of climate change. And Trump was part of the winning team – by 22% among adults 18-49.
Of course, Trump shared the ABC special with Democratic contender Sen. Bernie Sanders, Bradley Cooper, Amy Schumer, Tracey Morgan and Caitlyn Jenner, among others. And he wasn’t even the winner there. As intriguing as Trump’s year has been, the top spot in Walter’s special actually went to the former Olympian and transgender reality star. Last night wasn’t a win year-to-year for Walters and ABC with a 21% drop in the key demo from its 9-11 PM 2014 version of December 14 last year. That was a very competitive Sunday but Walters had the Once Upon A Time winter finale as a lead-in, unlike the repeats and specials of last night. All told, Thursday’s 10 Most Fascinating People was the worst the annual special has done in both the demo and total viewership since it started in 1993.
Filmed earlier this year, and unexpectedly nicely timed with the recent Paris Accord on the environment, the Commander-In-Chief hiked with the Brit ex-soldier Grylls, ate salmon and talked global warming – all within earshot of an off-camera entourage in the dozens. It should be noted, President Obama made a point of declining Grylls’ effort to get him to drink urine.
Viewershipwise, the Walters special dominated the slot with 6.6 million watching compared to the 3.5 million who tuned in for the President and Grylls. However, compared to its last original of September 7, Running Wild was up 24% in total viewers but dipped 10% in the key demo. Before Running Wild, NBC played the encore specials of How Murray Saved Christmas (0.5/2) and Kelly Clarkson’s Cautionary Christmas Tale (0.6/2) – the former was up 67% in the demo from its December 25 broadcast last year.
CBS had a full night of original programming, but also had NFL preemptions in St. Louis and Tampa as the Rams beat the Buccaneers 31-23. The Midwestern and Florida towns are major enough markets to move the net’s likely inflated numbers into the tentative column for the night. Currently, The Big Bang Theory is the top-rated show of the night with a 4.1/16. The rest of CBS’ Thursday saw Life In Pieces get a 2.5/8, Mom draw a 2.0/7, 2 Broke Girls had a 1.7/6 and Elementary pulled a 1.2/4. As it is, CBS and the NFL won the night over both Donald Trump and Barack Obama with a 2.1 /7rating and 9.69 million viewers.
The CW had a bit of a holiday dimming with the 8 – 9:30 PM iHeartRadio Jingle Ball (0.4/2) falling 33% from its December 19, 2014 airing.