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TV might be dying, but it isn’t dead yet.
Oprah Winfrey’s Sunday night interview with Prince Harry and Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle drew around 17.1 million viewers on CBS, according to preliminary Nielsen data from the Wall Street Journal.
Seventeen million was impressive in 2010, and near shocking in 2021. For some context, this sit-down outrates the vast majority of live sporting games, even topping the NFL’s 14.9 million average across the 2020 regular season. Harry, Markle, and Oprah more than doubled the average rating for the NBA Finals, which came in at just 7.45 million.
Interestingly, last night’s interview topped Caitlyn Jenner’s sit-down with Diane Sawyer in 2015, 17.1 million to 16.9 million. Though Sawyer and Jenner’s impressive demo rating among adults 18-49 stood tall with Oprah-Harry-Markle, it drew only half the TV rating, 5.2 to 2.6.
Staying on the topic of royalty, the CBS interview fell short of Game of Thrones‘ series finale with its shattering 19.3 million viewers. It’s safe to say that Jon Snow is a better king (depending on where you are in the show) than Harry a prince, no?
Nevertheless, 17.1 million number only paints a small picture of consumption. Headlines are still pouring in, highlights of the interview are widespread, and many will watch on-demand this week.
Whether you are Team Meg or Team Piers Morgan, this was a major TV success.