UPDATED: Stormy Daniels’ 60 Minutes interview with Anderson Cooper drove the CBS newsmag to 21.3 million viewers, up +111% from last week and its most watched episode since Steve Kroft’s interview with Barack and Michelle Obama in November 2008, shortly after he was elected president.
That decade-old interview had attracted 24.5 million viewers, with all three segments devoted to the president-elect and his wife.
Previously this morning, Sunday’s 60 Minutes hit 16.3/27 in the 56 Nielsen metered markets – a big night for Stormy, being way up compared with previous Sunday’s 7.6/13. Back on November 16, 2008, the Obamas’ interview clocked a metered-marked 17.4/26.
Cooper’s taped interview with Daniels will repeat tonight on his CNN primetime show, AC360.
Interest in Daniels’ story had been running high for weeks, reaching the boiling point Sunday. Several hours after the interview wrapped, the porn star who claims to have had an affair with now-president Donald Trump still was No. 1 trending topic on Twitter in the United States.
In Sunday’s broadcast, Daniels for the first time described the threat she says a man made against her in 2011 in a Las Vegas parking lot, unless she dropped her story, after she had agreed to tell all to a tabloid.
Daniels also said for the first time that she wasn’t attracted to Trump, which some pundits had predicted might trigger a POTUS Twitter tirade this morning. She also claimed to have spanked the future President of the United States in his hotel suite the day she met him, using a magazine that had his face on the cover.
This morning, Trump tweeted, all-inclusively:
Daniels’ controversial and much-dissected two-segment sit-down with Cooper started about 35 minutes late on the East Coast, due to NCAA basketball game overrun.
In advance of Sunday’s broadcast, Daniels’ very media-savvy attorney, Michael Avenatti, worked overtime plugging the interview, while CBS News released just one maddening 10-second tease in which Daniels did not open her mouth and Cooper said he was unsure why she was doing the interview.
In the walk-up to Sunday’s taped interview, there had been much speculation as to whether it would join the pantheon of “most watched” news interviews.
Presidential scandals tend to do well.
When Barbara Walters interviewed Monica Lewinsky on 20/20 in March 1999 about her affair with President Bill Clinton, it attracted an average of 48.5 million viewers, and an estimated 70 million people watched at least six minutes of that two-hour interview program. First Intern Lewinsky did the interview to push sales of her just-published book, Monica’s Story.
But other interviews have attracted mobs. An average of 62 million people who watched Oprah Winfrey’s 90-minute interview with Michael Jackson in 1993, causing then-ABC Entertainment president chief Ted Harbert to beam to The New York Times, “This is why God invented network television.” However, that live interview had not aired as a news broadcast, with Winfrey reportedly owning future rights.
For more recent ratings comparison, in April 2015, Diane Sawyer’s much-anticipated sit-down with then-Bruce Jenner on ABC, in which he confirmed reports he was transitioning to a woman, clocked an average of 16.9M viewers.
The blockbuster 60 Minutes, which averaged a 4.0 rating in adults 18-49, boosted the rest of CBS’ lineup. New drama Instinct (1.5 in adults 18-49, 10.6 million viewers) saw its demo rating spike 50% in Week 2, while the 18-49 deliveries of NCIS: LA (1.1, 8.6 million) and Madam Secretary (0.7, 6.2 million) ticked up by two and one tenth, respectively.
ABC’s American Idol is showing signs of stabilizing. It drew a 1.7 in 18-49 and 7.4 million viewers, off by a tenth from last Sunday. Deception (0.8, 4 million) was off by a tenth from its fast national last week, even with the final.
NBC’s Little Big Shots (0.9, 5.9 million) and Genius Junior (0.7, 4.2 million), slipped two and three tenths in the demo, respectively, while Timeless (0.6, 2.6 million) ticked down one tenth.
Bob’s Burgers (0.8, 1.7 million), Brooklyn Nine-Nine (0.9, 1.85 million) and Last Man on Earth (0.7, 1.6 million) were steady in the demo; The Simpsons (1.0, 2.1 million) was up by a tenth while Family Guy (0.9, 1.9 million) dipped by that much.