NEW YORK (AP) — Instead of watching their own finances crater, shut-in television viewers tuned in to the game show “Let’s Make a Deal” in record numbers last week.
TV programs across the dial recorded superlatives last week with a captive audience of millions of Americans told to stay home because of the coronavirus. Few were as interesting as the newfound fervor for CBS’ “Let’s Make a Deal,” which recorded its most-watched week since the show was brought back 11 years ago with Wayne Brady as host, the Nielsen company said.
Cost-conscious viewers also gave “The Price is Right,” now hosted by Drew Carey, its biggest audience in four years, Nielsen said.
It was also a terrific week for television uber-producer Dick Wolf, whose Windy City-based trilogy of dramas dominates NBC’s lineup. Excluding special crossover episodes, “Chicago Fire” recorded its most popular episode in six years, while “Chicago Med” and “Chicago PD” had their largest audiences in four years, Nielsen said.
The Wolf-produced dramas “FBI” and “FBI: Most Wanted” on CBS did have a crossover last week, leading both relatively new shows to their highest ratings ever.
Nielsen hasn’t computed the numbers for last week yet, but during the previous week, television usage overall was up 18 percent over the same week a year ago. It was up 43 percent among viewers aged 12 to 17, which leads to questions about how much home schooling was being accomplished.
Increased usage was even more striking in Nielsen’s measurements of streaming. During the week of March 16, Nielsen said that U.S. consumers streamed 156.1 billion minutes of content. That was more than double the 71.3 billion minutes streamed during the same week a year earlier, and up from the 116.4 billion minutes for the week of March 2 this year.
Twenty-nine percent of the streaming two weeks ago was Netflix programming, and 20% was YouTube, Nielsen said.
CBS was the most popular network in prime time, averaging 6.3 million viewers and led by the best ratings for “NCIS” this year. NBC had 4.72 million viewers in prime time, ABC had 4.66 million, Fox had 3.4 million, Univision had 1.7 million, ION Television had 1.3 million, Telemundo had 1.2 million and the CW had 600,000 viewers.
News dominated the cable world again, with Fox News Channel averaging 4.23 million viewers in prime time. MSNBC had 2.32 million viewers, CNN had 2.19 million, HGTV had 1.26 million and TLC had 1.13 million.
ABC’s “World News Tonight” led the evening newscasts with an average of 11.9 million viewers. NBC’s “Nightly News” had 11 million viewers and the “CBS Evening News” had 7.4 million.