Nik Wallenda’s spectacular high wire act over Niagara Falls Friday won the night for ABC but received about a sixth of the rating in the national overnights that that it had locally on Channel 7.
The two-hour program featuring Wallenda had a 6.2 household national rating in the larger metered markets compared to the 34.1 rating it averaged locally on Channel 7. The hour program at 8 p.m. that featured other megastunts had a 3.6 national rating, about a quarter of the 13.1 it averaged on Channel 7. Naturally, ABC got its highest national rating — a 7.7 — for the final hour starting at 10 p.m. when Wallenda made the walk for about half an hour and was interviewed afterward.
ABC averaged about 8.7 million viewers for the three hours, hitting a peak of almost 13 millions viewers in the final hour of the Walk.
The good news for ABC is that the Wallenda Walk dominated the weak Friday night network competition in the key advertising demographics of ages 18-49 and 25-54 and in households and the network had its highest rating on a Friday night in about 4 and half years.
As impressive as that sounds, Friday night is often one of the two lowest viewing nights of the week along with Saturday.
To put the 6.2 rating in perspective, the average overnight rating for the first two games of the NBA finals between Miami and Oklahoma City on ABC was 11.8. The national rating for the Wallenda telecast – which adds the viewership in smaller markets that aren’t metered – will likely be available on Monday.