People stuck at home due to virus turn to news programming

Millions of Americans stuck at home because of the coronavirus are turning to news programming

News programs reached more people than they had in years and, in one case, notched its biggest average audience ever, the Nielsen company said.

Two of the broadcast evening newscasts, which offer a cogent summary of the day's developments, had a bigger average audience than any program in prime-time last week. They were ABC's “World News Tonight,” up 38 percent in viewers from its season average, and NBC's “Nightly News,” up 47 percent.

The “CBS Evening News” audience was 31 percent higher than it is typically.

The cable news networks, which never turn off, were also playing in millions of American homes. MSNBC's daytime audience, starting at 6 a.m., was higher than any other week since the network began in 1996.

CNN's daytime audience was up a whopping 132 percent from the same week a year ago. Fox News Channel's was up 77 percent and MSNBC's up 38 percent, Nielsen said.

CBS' “60 Minutes” was the most popular prime time show of the week.

Fox News Channel topped the cable networks with an average of 4.05 million viewers in prime time. MSNBC had 2.42 million, CNN had 2.15 million, HGTV had 1.22 million and TLC had 1.14 million.

“World News Tonight” averaged 12.5 million viewers for ABC, NBC's “Nightly News” averaged 12 million viewers and the “CBS Evening News” had 7.6 million.

For the week of March 16-22, the top 20 programs, their networks and viewerships:

1. “60 Minutes,” CBS, 10.9 million.

2. “The Voice," NBC, 9.99 million.

3. “Chicago Med,” NBC, 9.18 million.

4. “Chicago Fire,” NBC, 9.02 million.

5. “The Masked Singer,” Fox, 8.02 million.

6. “Survivor,” CBS, 7.85 million.

7. “American Idol,” ABC, 7.69 million.

8. “NCIS,” CBS, 7.54 million.

9. “Chicago PD,” NBC, 7.51 million.

10. “NCIS: Los Angeles,'” CBS, 7.44 million.

11. “The Neighborhood,” CBS, 7.401 million.

12. “Station 19," ABC, 7.397 million.

13. “Bull,” CBS, 7.12 million.

14. “This is Us,” 7.08 million.

15. “Grey's Anatomy,” ABC, 7.03 million.

16. “FBI,” CBS, 7 million.

17. “911,” Fox, 6.97 million.

18. “Bob Hearts Abishola,” CBS, 6.9 million.

19. “NCIS” (Sunday, 8 p.m.), CBS, 6.57 million.

20. “The Conners,” ABC, 6.5 million.