Viewers surged by 12.3 million more than the prior year during the same 11 p.m. ET timeslot
Tuesday marks 20 years since O.J. Simpson’s slow-speed car chase dominated television and captivated America.
The day-long media circus helped TV usage peak with 55.7 million households watching television at 10 p.m. ET, according to the all-day viewing levels charted below.
TheWrap compared the TV usage data on June 17, 1994 — the date of the chase — with the same date a year earlier, and discovered the largest increase was during the 11 p.m. ET hour. That evening’s coverage garnered 12.3 million more viewers than on the same night a year prior.
To help understand the jumps, here’s the rough timeline of the events from the June 17, 1994 saga:
Simpson was expected to surrender to police at 2 p.m. ET, but that didn’t happen. At 5 p.m., the Los Angeles Police Department issued an all-points bulletin for the then-suspect. At 8 p.m., attorney Robert Kardashian read what many suspected was a rambling suicide note from the former NFL player.
At around 9:20 p.m., Simpson was spotted in the now-infamous white Ford Bronco being driven by his former University of Southern California teammate Al Cowlings. At 9:45, the police spotted him and the chase began up the 405 highway.
The chase ended around 11 p.m. at Simpson’s Brentwood home. After about 45 minutes more in the truck and an hour inside his house, Simpson finally surrendered to the authorities. The whole ordeal was watched by a reported 95 million homes.
Here are the hour-by-hour TV usage levels: