The life and death of Robin Williams loomed large over primetime last night. The first network to dedicate a special to the late Oscar winner, ABC revamped its Wednesday schedule for a 20/20 (1.7/5) special focusing on Williams. Featuring interviews with the actor by Barbara Walters and Diane Sawyer plus the latest news on the investigation into Williams’ death, the 1-hour special was hosted by David Muir. In a competitive time slot, the 10 PM special was the second highest-rated show of the night among Adults 18-49.
Compared to ABC’s last primetime 20/20 special, the June 9th Hillary Clinton interview, last night’s Williams tribute was up 56% among Adults 18-49. Viewershipwise, the Williams special drew an audience of 7.19 million compared to the Clinton special’s 6.1 million to deliver ABC its best non-sports results in the slot since May 2013. Before the 20/20 special, ABC had the regularly scheduled Extreme Weight Loss (1.1/4), which was even with its last original on July 29.
Robin Williams was also a presence on America’s Got Talent (2.0/6) last night. Judge Howie Mandel started the 9 PM live show with a tribute to Williams and noted “the huge void” that the actor “is leaving behind.” In preliminary ratings, the 2-hour quarterfinals show was even with last week’s broadcast. That makes last night’s AGT tied for a series low, excluding specials and recap shows. Of course that could change in the final numbers later today. As it stands, AGT was the highest-rated show of the night and the most watched with 9.6 million viewers. AGT’s 8 PM lead-in Food Fighters (1.1/4) once again took a dip. The Adam Richman-hosted show was down 8% from last week, which was down 8% from the week before that. NBC was the top-rated network of the night with a 1.7/5. It was also the most watched with 7.83 million viewers.
Fox, CBS and the CW were all repeats last night.