NBC’s ‘Dateline’ Special on Simpson Trial Tops Wednesday

OJ Simpson Trial Dateline
Lee Celano/WireImage

A two-hour “Dateline” special, “The People vs. O.J. Simpson: What the Jury Never Heard,” edged out Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance” as the top-rated broadcast in key demos on an overall quiet Wednesday night.

According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, “Dateline” averaged a 1.4 rating/5 share in adults 18-49 and 6.2 million viewers overall from 9 to 11 p.m., standing as the night’s top non-sports program in both categories, peaking with nearly 7 million viewers in the final half-hour. Two Wednesdays ago, an hourlong NBC News special, Brian William’s sit-down with Edward Snowden, did a 1.3/4 in 18-49 and nearly 6 million viewers.

Wednesday’s “Dateline,” in commemoration of the 20-year anniversary of the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman and the subsequent murder trial of O.J. Simpson, was hosted by Josh Mankiewicz, who interviewed many of the key players in the investigation that riveted the country.

Opening the night for NBC was two original episodes of the canceled first-year comedy “Growing Up Fisher” (0.9/4 in 18-49, 4.1 million viewers overall at 8 and 0.9/3 in 18-49, 3.6 million viewers overall at 8:30).

Fox aired a two-hour edition of “So You Think You Can Dance” (1.3/5 in 18-49, 4.4 million viewers overall), which was down 13% (0.2) from last week. The veteran show is skewing older this year, with a median age in the early going this summer of about 51 — vs. 46 or so a year ago. During the comparable week last year, when it aired on Tuesday, “Dance” drew about the same number of total viewers as last night but posted a healthier 1.7 rating in 18-49.

NBC and Fox tied as the top broadcast networks in 18-49 and 25-54 on Wednesday, though NBC Sports Network was expected to be in the running (and possibly win) with Game 4 of hockey’s Stanley Cup Final. The Peacock was the outright leader in total viewers.

ABC was lower pretty much across the board from last week, when its lineup of repeat comedies and original drama “Motive” went up against hockey on NBC. Last night, “Motive” tumbled four-tenths to a season low (0.7/2 in 18-49, 3.9 million viewers overall). The night opened with encores of “The Middle” (1.0/4 in 18-49, 4.2 million viewers overall), “The Goldbergs” (1.0/4 in 18-49, 3.5 million viewers overall), “Modern Family” (1.2/4 in 18-49, 3.9 million viewers overall) and a second “Goldbergs” at 9:30 (1.0/3 in 18-49, 3.4 million viewers overall).

CBS aired a special repeat of Friday series “Undercover Boss” (0.8/3 in 18-49, 4.0 million viewers overall), followed by encores of Wednesday regulars “Criminal Minds” (1.0/3 in 18-49, 5.6 million viewers overall) and “CSI” (0.9/3 in 18-49, 5.4 million viewers overall).

And at CW, the season finale of “The 100” (0.5/2 in 18-49, 1.7 million viewers overall) was down vs. last week by a tenth in 18-49 (a deficit that could be erased in the national updates) while up in total viewers vs. last week. A repeat “Arrow” opened the night (0.3/1 in 18-49, 1.1 million viewers overall).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: Fox, 1.3/5; NBC, 1.3/4; Univision, 1.1/4; ABC and CBS, 0.9/3; Telemundo, 0.7/2; CW, 0.4/1.

In total viewers: NBC, 5.4 million; CBS, 5.0 million; Fox, 4.4 million; ABC, 3.8 million; Univision, 2.7 million; Telemundo, 1.6 million; CW, 1.4 million.



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