ABC News’ exclusive interview with Alec Baldwin pulled in an average of 4.13 million viewers, according to early Nielsen Media Research ratings data, but the interview still landed the channel in last place among its competitors. NBC’s “Annie Live,” football on Fox and “Young Sheldon” and “United States of Al” on CBS all beat ABC in the 8 p.m. ET to 9 p.m. slot.
In total, Fox led the way with 10.5 million total average viewers, of whom an average of 3.3 million were in the advertiser-coveted age demographic of 25 to 54 and 2.7 million were 18 to 49. NBC had 5.6 million total average viewers, of whom 1.3 million, on average, were 25 to 54 and an average of 1 million were from 18 to 49. CBS was next in total viewers, pulling in 5.5 million, on average, with an average of 900,000 of those being 25 to 54 and 500,000 being 18 to 49. In the key demos, ABC was also in last place: An average of 700,000 of the interview’s viewers were from 25 to 54 while the average number of 18 to 49-year-old viewers was 400,000.
Baldwin said in the interview, which aired Thursday at 8 p.m. ET, that he never imagined he had shot cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of “Rust,” presuming she had a heart attack or another mishap had occurred when she collapsed after he released the hammer of a prop gun on the film’s set.
“I didn’t believe Halyna was shot,” said Baldwin. “No one could understand – did she have a heart attack? The idea that there was a live bullet in the gun “did not occur” to him.
ABC News announced earlier this week that Baldwin would speak exclusively to anchor George Stephanopoulos in his first interview since the shooting, which resulted in lawsuits and the suspension of production on the Western film.
Following Thursday’s telecast, the interview is now streaming on Hulu. A two-hour “20/20” about the deadly shooting will air Friday, Dec. 10, and also stream on Hulu the next day. It includes some of Baldwin’s interview.
Though he has not given any other interviews since the shooting, Baldwin has been vocal with his condolences to Hutchins’ family. The actor spoke to photographers in Vermont a week after the incident and said he was cooperating with police and has been speaking to them every day since the incident. Baldwin maintained at the time that he could not speak on the active investigation.
“It’s an active investigation in terms of a woman died — she was my friend,” Baldwin said. “We were a very, very well-oiled crew shooting a film together, and then this horrible event happened.”