LOS ANGELES (AP) — The ESPY Awards, highlighted by Caitlyn Jenner’s acceptance of a trophy for bravery, proved a ratings champion.
The telecast, which moved from its traditional ESPN cable home to a bigger stage with broadcast sibling ABC, drew 7.75 million viewers last Wednesday to rank as the most-watched ESPY ceremony ever, more than double the previous high of 3.6 million in 2006. Last year’s ceremony was watched by 2.2 million.
It was the No. 5 program of the week, according to Nielsen company numbers released Tuesday.
Jenner, who as Bruce Jenner was the 1976 Olympic decathlon champion, urged acceptance for transgender people as she accepted the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. Jenner’s own journey into womanhood will be profiled on the E! reality series “I Am Cait,” debuting Sunday.
Baseball’s All-Star Game was the No. 1 program of the week with 10.9 million viewers, but posted a record-low rating.
The American League’s 6-3 victory over the National League in Cincinnati last Tuesday earned a 6.6 rating on Fox, a dip from the previous low rating of 6.8 in 2012. Last year’s game, with Derek Jeter’s final All-Star appearance, drew 11.3 million viewers.
Viewers, turning up their noses and remote controls at scripted reruns, largely favored live broadcasts and reality series. There was fresh blood on the drama side with CBS’ summer thriller series “Zoo,” which ranked seventh for the week.
For the week, CBS averaged 5.2 million viewers, ABC had 4.6 million, NBC had 4.3 million, Fox had 3.9 million, Univision had 2.7 million, Telemundo had 1.3 million, and the CW and ION Television had 1.1 million each.
Fox News Channel, benefiting from the Donald Trump-supercharged 2016 presidential campaign, was the most popular cable network with an average 1.7 million viewers in prime time. The Disney Channel averaged 1.66 million, USA had 1.65 million and TNT had 1.58 million
Among newscasts, “NBC Nightly News” with Lester Holt was the leader with 7.8 million average viewers last week, followed by anchor David Muir’s “ABC World News Tonight” with 7.5 million and the “CBS Evening News” with 6.5 million.
For the week of July 13-19, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: “Fox Major League Baseball All-Star Game,” Fox, 10.9 million; “America’s Got Talent (Tuesday),” NBC, 10.8 million, “Celebrity Family Feud,” ABC, 8.8 million, “60 Minutes,” CBS, 8.1 million; “ESPY Awards,” ABC, 7.8 million; “The Big Bang Theory,” CBS, 7.2 million; “The Bachelorette,” ABC,” 7 million; “NCIS,” CBS, 6.9 million; “Zoo,” CBS, 6.6 million; “Big Brother (Thursday),” CBS, 6.1 million.
ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co. CBS is owned by CBS Corp. CW is a joint venture of Warner Bros. Entertainment and CBS Corp. Fox is owned by 21st Century Fox. NBC and Telemundo are owned by Comcast Corp. ION Television is owned by ION Media Networks.
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