Houston, Lopez Interviews Draw Big Ratings
Whitney Houston's "Primetime" interview special with Diane Sawyer Wednesday night (Dec. 4) on ABC scored a ratings victory for the network. The one-hour program was the most-watched show of the nightWhitney Houston's "Primetime" interview special with Diane Sawyer Wednesday night (Dec. 4) on ABC scored a ratings victory for the network. The one-hour program was the most-watched show of the night and drew a 13.7 rating/21 share, or 14.7 million U.S. households, according to Nielsen Media research.
In comparison, Jennifer Lopez's Nov. 13 Primetime" interview (also by conducted by Sawyer) got a 10.5 rating/17 share, or 11 million U.S. households. The one-hour Lopez interview was outranked in its time slot by NBC's "Law and Order," which earned a 12.7 rating/21 share. Still, the "Primetime" special with Lopez drew enough of an audience to become the No. 4 most-watched show of the night, behind "Law and Order," ABC's "The Bachelor," and NBC's "The West Wing."
Both "Primetime" specials were highly publicized as the first time that the entertainers would publicly confirm some of the gossip about them. Lopez admitted that she is engaged to Ben Affleck, and during the interview she gave details about the marriage proposal. Houston, who was reportedly suffering from laryngitis during the interview, revealed that she has used drugs but insisted that she never had an addiction problem. Houston also denied rumors that she has an eating disorder, discussed her marriage to Bobby Brown, broke down in tears when talking about the $100 million lawsuit her father has filed against her (see related story), and apologized to her fans for public appearances she has canceled over the years.
ABC has been lagging in overall ratings this year, often placing a distant third behind rivals NBC and CBS. The consistent bright spots for ABC's primetime schedule this season have been "Monday Night Football" and the reality dating series "The Bachelor." Houston's "Primetime" interview will surely boost ABC's overall ratings for the month of December, but it comes after the crucial November sweeps period, in which ratings can determine the advertising rates charged by the networks.
In other ratings news, the music-heavy "Christmas in Rockefeller Center," which also aired Wednesday night on NBC, won its time slot with a 7.9 rating/12 share, or 12 million U.S. households. The one-hour special was the No. 3 most-watched program of the night, after the "Primetime" interview with Houston and NBC's "Law and Order." "Christmas in Rockefeller Center" featured performances by Barry Manilow, Sheryl Crow, Michelle Branch, Josh Groban, Kelly Clarkson, Carly Simon, and Kelly Rowland of Destiny's Child.