Ratings: James Comey Interview Nabs 9.8 Million Viewers for ABC

That, despite lead-in “American Idol” sinking to a new low — including the Fox years

james comey
ABC News

James Comey’s sitdown interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos attracted a strong 9.8 million viewers at 10 p.m. Even so, CBS won Sunday’s primetime with its Academy of Country Music Awards, which reached a three-year high in overall audience tallies.

“American Idol” didn’t help ABC’s effort, as the series slipped to a new low last night — including the Fox years.

Setting aside the Oscars, the Comey conversation handed ABC its largest non-sports audience in the time slot since the 2016 Emmys. In terms of total viewers, it was ABC’s top news program telecast since the channel’s Caitlyn Jenner interview on April 24, 2015.

The Comey interview earned a 1.7 rating/6 share among adults 18-49, and posted a 2.4/7 in the news demo, which counts viewers 25-54.

While very good Nielsen numbers, Comey’s interview nabbed nowhere near what Stormy Daniels hauled in just a few weeks ago for CBS. The audience for the porn star’s March 25 visit with Steve Kroft was actually more than double what ABC’s special scored, to put it in perspective.

Of course, Stormy’s turn followed an NCAA Tournament Final Four overtime game, which never hurts. And then there is that whole (alleged) sex-with-a-porn-star thing, which always helps.

CBS was first in ratings Sunday with a 1.8 rating/7 share in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demographic and in total viewers with an average of 11.7 million, according to preliminary numbers. At 7, “60 Minutes” put up a 1.1/4 and 10.4 million viewers. The ACMAs ran for the rest of the night, averaging a 2.1/8 and 12 million viewers.

ABC was second in ratings with a 1.4/5 and in viewers with 7.1 million. “America’s Funniest Home Videos” at 7 had a 1.2/5 and 6.2 million viewers. Two hours worth of “American Idol” starting at 8 got a 1.3/5 and 6.3 million viewers. The Comey interview followed.

Fox was third in ratings with a 0.7/3 and fourth in viewers with 1.7 million. Following a rerun, “Bob’s Burgers” at 7:30 had a 0.8/3 and 1.8 million viewers At 8, “The Simpsons” got a 1.0/4 and 2.2 million viewers. At 8:30, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” received a 0.9/3 and 1.8 million viewers. A second episode at 9 dipped to a 0.7/2 and 1.5 million viewers. At 9:30, “The Last Man on Earth” closed out Fox’s primetime with a 0.6/2 and 1.4 million viewers.

NBC was fourth in ratings with a 0.6/2 and third in viewers with 4 million. “Dateline NBC” at 7 had a 0.6/3 and 4.1 million viewers. At 8, “Little Big Shots” got a 0.7/3 and 5.5 million viewers. “Genius Junior” at 9 received a 0.7/2 and 3.8 million viewers. At 10, “Timeless” managed a 0.5/2 and 2.6 million viewers.

Univision was fifth in ratings with a 0.5/2 and in viewers with 1.6 million.

Telemundo was sixth in ratings with a 0.4/2 and in viewers with 1 million.

The CW does not currently nationally program Sunday nights.