Once a ratings powerhouse with her primetime interview specials, Oprah Winfrey returned to broadcast TV with First Lady Michelle Obama Says Goodbye To the White House: An Oprah Winfrey Special on CBS. The hourlong interview drew 9.39 million viewers and a 1.3 rating in adults 18-49, which was OK, but well below the ratings highs for some of Winfrey’s signature primetime interview specials of the past few decades.
In the 8-9 PM time slot, the special managed to edge the first hour of NBC’s America’s Got Talent: Holiday Spectacular (9.14 million, 1.8 in 18-49) in total viewers, finishing behind in the demo. For the night, the two-hour AGT special was No.1 in both adults 18-49 (1.8) and total viewers (9.5 million). It provided a solid lead-in for the new NBC game show The Wall, whose preview drew a 1.6 in 18-49 and 6.5 million viewers. While the total viewership dropped 32%, The Wall, hosted by Talking Dead and @midnight‘s Chris Hardwick, showed promising 89% retention of its 18-49 lead-in and no dropoff from the first to the second half-hour. The two programs finished No. 1 and No. 2 for the night in the demo, leading NBC to nightly wins in both 18-49 and total viewers.
Meanwhile, CBS’ Oprah Winfrey special posted the network’s largest audience in the 8 PM hour since Oct. 17. The rest of CBS’ Monday lineup included comedies Man with a Plan (1.1, down a tenth) and 2 Broke Girls (1.2, flat) as well as drama Scorpion (1.2), which perked up a tenth with stronger lead-in from 2 Broke Girls vs. The Odd Couple last week.
ABC’s fast nationals, which include a 1.2 for the finale of The Great Christmas Lights Fight, were inflated by NFL preemptions. UPDATE: Christmas Lights Fight was adjusted down to a 1.1 in the finals.
With neither the Dallas Cowboys nor New England Patriots playing, ESPN’s Monday Night Football posted an 8.0 rating in the metered markets last night. The Carolina Panthers 26-15 win over the Washington Redskins was down 12% over the ratings surge for last week’s Patriots win over the Baltimore Ravens.
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