NBC narrowly claimed the crown after Nielsen ratings for the Royal Wedding were reported Sunday, with an average of 6.4 million viewers tuning in to see the “Today” live broadcast of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle exchanging vows from Windsor Castle in England.
Overall, an estimated 29.2 million people and 23.7 million households watched the royal nuptials across all the networks it was carried on, according to preliminary data. Those impressive numbers helped Prince Harry take the throne from his big brother — at least in the ratings kingdom — with Prince William and Kate Middleton’s 2011 nuptials being viewed by 18.6 million households and 22.8 million total viewers.
ABC News came in a very close second to the Peacock network in total eyeballs for Harry’s special day, with 6.3 million viewers, followed by CBS in third with 4.8 million viewers for the 6-9 a.m. ET slot. Fox News led the cable networks with 2 million viewers for the 6-10 a.m. slot, followed by CNN with 1.8 million and MSNBC with 1 million.
NBC also held the top spot with all key demos, averaging 2.3 million in the 25-54 demographic and 1.7 million in the 18-49 demo. That’s a 17 percent lead over ABC and 66 percent lead over CBS.
“Today” also had the top Friday broadcast for the wedding, averaging 4.25 million viewers for the lead-up special with 1.45 million in the 25-54 demo. “Today” brought the entire main team to England for the nuptials, with Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb broadcasting from an on-location set overlooking Windsor Castle.
In the United States, while coverage varied by network Prince Harry and Markle’s ceremony was broadcast live from approximately 7:00 AM ET to 8:15 AM ET on 15 networks. The networks carrying live coverage of the ceremony included ABC (inclusive of Freeform simulcast), BBC America, CBS, CNN, CNNe, E!, Fox News Channel, HLN, MSNBC, NBC, PBS, Telemundo, TLC and Univision.