TV Ratings: Biden’s Presidential Address Draws Nearly 20 Million Broadcast Viewers in Early Numbers

Mónica Marie Zorrilla
·3-min read

President Joe Biden’s first presidential address, delivered on the anniversary of COVID-19 being declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization, was broadcast across the Big 4 (CBS, Fox, NBC and ABC) and on Univision at 8 p.m. ET last night. The speech, in which the President directed states to expand vaccine eligibility to all adults by May 1 and urged Americans to get the vaccine when it is available, drew a collective 19.5 million viewers throughout Thursday night primetime.

Of the five networks, ABC and CBS’s special telecasts garnered a 0.8 rating each in the key, adults ages 18-49 demographic, with the alphabet network, scoring slightly more viewers than CBS (6.24 versus 6.17 million, respectively). NBC and Fox also tied, with each obtaining a 0.5 rating in the key demo and 3.52 and 2.28 million viewers, respectively. Coming in last for the address broadcast numbers was Spanish-language network behemoth Univision, which drew a 0.4 rating and 1.34 million viewers.

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Other highlights from President Joe Biden’s first presidential address include imploring Americans to listen to Dr. Anthony Fauci and medical experts and to continue wearing their masks and abiding by public health regulations. He also scorned the recent spate of hate directed at Asian Americans. Biden announced a target goal of returning the country to some version of pre-pandemic normalcy by Independence Day and said that his administration plans to deliver at least 2 million shots a day, enough to get all adults in line to receive their jabs by May 1.

Telemundo, NBCUniversal and Comcast’s Spanish-language cable division, opted to forego airing the special and instead stuck with their regular daily weekly programming, running “Exatlón Estados Unidos” in the 8 p.m. window (0.3, 0.97). Similarly, The CW decided to run a new episode of the Jared Padalecki-starring reboot of “Walker” at that hour, which got a 0.3 rating in the key demo and 1.38 million viewers.

Elsewhere on television, Fox aired a new episode of “Hell’s Kitchen” at 8:30 p.m., which attracted 2.29 million viewers and a 0.6 in the 18-49 demo, ranking in second place for the night’s telecasts overall. The network also dropped new episodes of “Call Me Kat” at 9:30 p.m. (0.4, 1.83) and “Last Man Standing” at 10 p.m. (0.5, 2.52). NBC ran an encore of “Law & Order: SVU” at 9 p.m. and a new episode of “Dateline NBC” at 10 p.m. (0.2, 1.83).

Additionally, CBS aired new episodes of “Young Sheldon” at 8:30 p.m. (0.7, 5.81), “B Positive” at 9 p.m. (0.6, 4.81), “Mom” at 9:30 (0.5, 4.16) and “Clarice” at 10 p.m. (0.3, 2.91). ABC aired new episodes of “Station 19” at 8:30 p.m. (0.9, 5.22), “Grey’s Anatomy” at 9:30 p.m. (0.8, 4.63) and “A Million Little Things” at 10:30 p.m. (0.4, 2.70). Also on during Thursday primetime was a new episode of The CW’s “Vampire Diaries” spinoff “Legacies,” which drew a 0.1 in the key demo and 0.50 million viewers.

More to come …

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