2ND UPDATE, 11:28 AM: He became an Olympic champion in 1976 and now Bruce Jenner is standing on the top newsmagazine platform. In Live+3 ratings, Friday’s 20/20: Bruce Jenner – The Interview with Diane Sawyer rose 31% among adults 18-49 from its Live + Same Day result to a 6.8. That is the best Live+3 result for any newsmag since Nielsen started reporting DVR and delayed viewing numbers in 2007. The previous Live+3 demo high was the 6.4 that 60 Minutes scored on November 16, 2008 with an NFL lead-in that Sunday.
In total viewership, the relentlessly promoted talk with the gender-transitioning Jenner drew an audience of 20.7 million in Live+3, up 21% from the 17.1 million who watched Live+SD. Among the core news demo of adults 25-54, Friday’s 20/20 got an 8.3 rating in Live+3, up 27% from Live+SD numbers and also a newsmag high, again topping that 2008 60 Minutes (8.2).
UPDATED, APRIL 27 PM: The final numbers are in, and the viewership gold medal is shining a little brighter for Friday’s 20/20: Bruce Jenner – The Interview. While the two-hour Diane Sawyer sit-down with the 1976 Olympic decathlon champion and the Keeping Up With The Kardashians stepdad stayed the same among adults 18-49 with a 5.2/17, the highly promoted conversation about Jenner’s transition to becoming a woman bopped up a bit from its fast nationals in total viewers.
With a small adjustment, the April 24 edition of 20/20 was watched by 17.1 million, according to Nielsen. That’s still the best the newsmag has done in more than 15 years and the best any network has done on a nonsports Friday night in 12 years. While the Jenner interview didn’t change among the 18-49s, it did see a small 2% rise among the news demo of adults 25-54 to a final Live+Same Day number of 6.5/19. Jenner, of course, promised to follow up with Sawyer in a year, so stay tuned.
PREVIOUSLY, APRIL 25 AM: The former Olympic champion’s sit down with Diane Sawyer about his transition to becoming a woman proved to be a huge win for ABC last night. The 2-hour 20/20: Bruce Jenner – The Interview scored a 5.2/17 among adults 18-49 on Friday night with 16.9 million total viewers from 9 – 11 PM. That is, of course, the best 20/20 has done all season in what is one of the biggest non-awards show and non-sports event audiences on any network.
On the first Friday of the May sweep, when ABC took the night with a 4.0/14 rating and 13.84 million total viewers, last night is also the best 20/20 itself has done in total viewers and the 18-49 demo since March 17, 2000 – when an interview with John and Patsy Ramsey pulled in 19.6 million and a rating of 6.9/21. Overall for ABC, last night was its best Friday viewership since January 2004. Among the 18-49 demo, last night was the best any network has done on a non-sports Friday since April 4, 2003.
Among the key demo, the Jenner interview surged up a stellar 271% from Sawyer’s last big celebrity interview, when she talked with Julie Andrews for 20/20: The Untold Story Of The Sound Of Music on March 18. Coming after the blockbuster Empire season finale on Fox, the 1-hour ABC News show snagged a 1.4/5 rating in the key demo that Wednesday night. In total viewers, the look back at the classic film drew an audience of 7.30 million which was the most watched 20/20 this season – up until last night.
Looking at sheer viewership, the record breaking 2-hour Empire finale had 16.7 million viewers. The best Friday viewership result this season until last night had been the 12.86 million that CBS’ Blue Bloods pulled in on January 9.
Comparing the heavily hyped interview with the Keeping Up With The Kardashians patriarch Friday-to-Friday, last night’s 20/20 was up 333% in the demo over the show’s 1-hour April 17 broadcast. That 20/20 had a total viewership of 5.71 million or 66% less than the fast nationals for last night.
Matched against Barbara Walters’ interview with former teacher and former convict Mary Kay Letourneau Fualaau and her former 6th Grade student lover and now decade long husband Vili Fualaau on Friday April 10, the Jenner interview was also a clear 18-49 winner by 300% over Walters’ talk with the controversial couple. Walters’ interview got a 1.3/4 rating and had 6.01 million total viewers.
There will undoubtedly bey adjustments in 20/20‘s final numbers, but here are a few facts to chew on. The Jenner interview proved to be the top Friday broadcast ever on social media. With#brucejennerabc, #brucejenner and #brucejennerinterview flying around Twitter, the interview garnered 972,000 tweets from 403,000 unique authors last night. In metered market results, Sawyer’s interview with Jenner got a 12.8/22 result. That’s a 212% rocket launch over what the 10 PM 20/20 achieved last week. The peak of the Jenner interview came in the 10 PM half hour slot with a 13.1/22.
Before Bruce Jenner – The Interview, ABC had Shark Tank (1.7/7) in the 8 PM slot last night. The entrepreneurial reality series was up 13% among adults 18-49 from its 9 PM show last week. In the same 8 PM slot, Grimm (1.0/4) was even with last week for NBC. Running from 9 – 11 PM, Dateline (0.9/3) dipped 10% from its April 17 show – which is resilient when one considers the competition over on ABC last night.
Even facing the competition of Sawyer’s chat with the 1976 Olympic decathlon winner, CBS was pretty much even last night. The Amazing Race (1.1/5) and Hawaii Five-O (1.1/4) were even last week, while Blue Bloods (1.0/3) was down 17% from its last original – though it still pulled in 9.75 million viewers to be the second most watched show of the night.
With the Yankees and -Mets matchup preempting programing on The CW in the NYC market, their numbers will likely be inflated. Having said that, newbies Cedric’s Barber Battles (0.4/2) and The Messengers (0.4/1) were up 100% and up 33% respectively from their debuts of April 17. Whose Line Is It Anyway (0.4/2) at 8:30 PM was even with last week.