Michael Jackson’s first domestic concert special in more than a decade buoyed CBS to its biggest Tuesday night with non-sports programming since 1994 in viewers and adults 18-49. “Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Celebration” raked in an average of 25.7 million viewers and a 10.9 rating/26 share in adults 18-49, dwarfing the competition for the night. Viewership of the Nov. 13 special increased steadily throughout the 9-11 p.m. telecast, peaking to 29.8 million and a 13.3/35 from 10:30-11 p.m.
According to Nielsen Media Research estimates, 45 million viewers tuned in for all or part of the special.
“This was an opportunity to see a performer who has had a long and successful career but who has been out of the limelight for a while,” CBS senior VP specials Jack Sussman said. “He’s still one of the greatest performers ever, and when he gets onstage and the music starts, it’s magic.”
Jackson’s closest competitor Tuesday was an hour-long episode of “Frasier,” which averaged 19.3 million viewers and an 8.4/19 in 18-49 in the 9-10 p.m. hour vs. 22.3 million and an 8.9/20 for the Jackson special. NBC ran two hours of “Frasier” on Tuesday, starting with back-to-back reruns at 8 p.m. The extra doses of the long-running sitcom led NBC to its best Tuesday numbers in 18-49 (tied) and total viewers this season.
ABC’s “NYPD Blue” and Fox’s “24” lagged behind in the 9 p.m. period. The two dramas were in a dead heat among adults 18-49 in their second face-off. Both shows averaged a 4.4/10 in the demo, while “Blue” was ahead in viewers with 13.1 million vs. 8.8 million for “24.”
Steven Bochco’s “Philly” had an unimpressive first airing in its post-“Blue” slot at 10 p.m. Boosted by its lead-in, the legal drama (10.3 million, 3.4/9) had its most-watched episode since the series premiere but held on to a so-so 77% of the “Blue” numbers.