Viewers lapped up Oprah Winfrey’s CBS interview with Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan, as 17.1 million viewers tuned in Sunday for a series of bombshell revelations about the royal family.
The total, sure to increase once delayed viewing is factored in, marked the biggest audience for a non-sports broadcast this TV season, apart from CBS’ post-Super Bowl premiere of “The Equalizer.” It also more than doubled the audience for last Sunday’s Golden Globes on NBC, which claimed 6.9 million, a record low, but fell short of last year’s Oscars, which drew 23.6 million on Feb. 9, 2020.
Advance interest in the Harry and Meghan sitdown, conducted last month in Santa Barbara County, California, was huge, as CBS drew headlines for each promo it released.
CBS paid about $8 million for U.S. rights to the interview, according to a person familiar with the contract who was unauthorized to speak publicly about it. The network also distributed the interview to networks around the world; the U.K.’s ITV will air it Monday.
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Among the revelations: Meghan said that there were “concerns” during her first pregnancy about the color of her baby’s skin, and that, while pregnant, she had suicidal thoughts and got no support from the royal family. Harry said his father, Prince Charles, wouldn’t take his calls for a time. Meghan and Harry revealed that the second child she’s expecting is a girl. Meghan said that, contrary to reports that she had made Kate Middleton, her sister-in-law, cry, the reverse was true.
While the ratings paled next to high-profile celebrity interviews in past decades, the TV climate has changed radically, as the advent of streaming, the increase in cable “cord-cutting” and other changes in viewing behavior have depressed broadcast audiences.
Watch the special here.
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