ABC News Kennedy Special Most Watched Program at 10pm — Two-Hour Special Draws 8.4 Million Viewers with Diane Sawyer Reporting

By David Ford

Sep 14, 2011 1:25pm

Diane Sawyer Special Builds Audience Throughout its Two-Hour Broadcast Becoming the Most Watched Program from 10:00-11:00 PM

The ABC News Special Draws the Network’s Largest Post-Season Non-Sports Audience in the Time Slot in 5 Years  

ABC News Special Outperforms Two Most Recent NBC “Dateline” Specials

ABC News Special “Jacqueline Kennedy: In Her Own Words” averaged 8.4 million Total Viewers and a 2.1 rating/5 share among Adults 25-54 and 1.5 rating/4 share among Adults 18-49 for its two-hour broadcast, according to Nielsen Media Research. Surging from its lead-in at 9pm and gaining audience throughout its 2-hour broadcast, the ABC News Special “Jacqueline Kennedy: In Her Own Words” finished #2 to NBC’s combo of  ”America’s Got Talent Tuesday”  finale and  ”Parenthood”  premiere from 9-11pm among Total Viewers.

Building in its second hour, the ABC News Special moved ahead of NBC to become the most-watched TV program from 10-11pm, topping CBS and outdrawing the Talent-led season opener of  Parenthood by 28%.  With Diane Sawyer reporting, the ABC News Special allowed viewers for the first time to hear actual interviews the former first lady, Jacqueline Kennedy, recorded for history. The special also included an exclusive interview with Caroline Kennedy.

In Total Viewers, Adults 25-54 and Adults 18-49, the ABC News Special Jacqueline Kennedy: In Her Own Words  produced the Net’s strongest non-sports numbers in the 2-hour time period in nearly 4 months – since 5/24/11, with the season finale of ”Dancing with the Stars.”   In fact looking at the Tuesday 9-11pm time period outside of the regular Sept-May TV Season, the program attracted ABC’s biggest non-sports audience in 5 years - since September 2006, with the pre-season premiere of ”Dancing with the Stars” on 9/12/06.

The ABC News Special “Jacqueline Kennedy: In Her Own Words” with Diane Sawyer reporting outperformed the viewership of NBC News’ two most recent “Dateline” specials – the “Dateline” interview with former Vice President Dick Cheney (5.53 million viewers) and “Inside Congress” with Brian Williams reporting (4.29 million viewers).

ABCNews.com had already seen over 1.5 million views of its Jacqueline Kennedy stories and over half a million users have watched content from the special online as of Wednesday morning. As the special aired Tuesday night in the U.S. on the ABC Television Network, “Jacqueline Kennedy” quickly became a hot topic online trending on Twitter at various times throughout the two-hours.  In addition, on Wednesday morning “Jacqueline Kennedy” was the #4 Google search trend in the U.S., “Caroline Kennedy” was #5, “Jackie Kennedy” came in at #7, and “John Kennedy Jr” at #9.

The ABC News Special coincided with the September 14 publication of the book, “Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy” by Hyperion, which has already rocketed to #1 ranking both Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble (BN.com).

Eric Avram and David Sloan are the executive producers of “Jacqueline Kennedy: In Her Own Words.”

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