ABC had auds on the edge of their seats Friday as coverage surrounding Nik Wallenda’s live highwire walk over Niagra Falls drew impressive numbers and crushed the competish.
It was actually a good night all around for the Mouse nets, as Disney Channel’s original movie “Let it Shine” drew the families not watching broadcaster sibling ABC. And ESPN connected with men as its coverage of golf’s U.S. Open was up nicely year to year.
Nielsen estimates that “Mega-stunts: Highwire Over Niagra Falls,” which aired live in much of the country from 9 to 11 p.m., averaged a 2.5 rating/9 share in adults 18-49 and 10.1 million viewers overall — more than doubling that of closest competitor NBC (“Dateline”). ABC noted that “Megastunts” is the most-watched, non-sports summertime telecast on the Big Four (Memorial Day-Labor Day) in at least six years.
And combined with the preceding 8 p.m. special “The Greatest Mega-stunts of All Time” (prelim 1.2/5 in 18-49, 5.7 million viewers overall), ABC posted its most-watched Friday (8.7 million) since November 2007.
Viewership peaked in the 10:30 p.m. half-hour with a big 3.4/11 in 18-49, a 4.3/12 in 25-54 and 13.1 million viewers overall — numbers rarely seen these days for any non-sports program in the 10:30 p.m. half-hour on any night of the week.
Over at Disney Channel, original movie “Let It Shine” drew 5.7 million viewers for its 8-9:55 p.m. premiere — making it the calendar year’s No. 1-rated telepic across all core kid demographics. It drew 3 million kids 2-11, 2.6 million kids 6-11, 2.3 million tweens 9-14 and 1.2 million adults 18-49.
“Let It Shine” is a re-imagining of the classic Cyrano de Bergerac story set in the contemporary world of hip-hop, rap and gospel music. Stars include Tyler James Williams, Coco Jones, Trevor Jackson, Brandon Mychal and Courtney B. Vance.
And on ESPN, primetime coverage of the second round of the 112th U.S. Open earned the network’s largest audience (3.6 million viewers) for a regular round of play in the event. The cabler’s largest audience for any U.S. Open telecast was a Monday playoff in 2008, which drew 4.8 million viewers.
NBC aired the third round Saturday night, with its overnight score (5.5 household rating/13 share) the best in 10 years.
In other ratings news, Thursday’s second-season preem of USA’s “Suits” saw significant ratings erosion opposite the NBA Finals on ABC.
The Universal Cable Prods.-produced drama drew 3.4 million viewers, down 17% from a year ago. In the 18-49 demo, the show garnered 1.4 million (-19%) and an identical 1.4 million in the 25-54 demo (off 20%).
As for USA’s Jeffrey Donovan-starrer “Burn Notice,” which began its sixth season Thursday, ratings ticked up from its last fall cycle as expected, but fell significantly from summer 2011. Skein, from Fox Television Studios and creator Matt Nix, drew 3.8 million viewers and 1.5 million in both demos.
The NBA Finals game between Miami and Oklahoma City averaged 16.67 million viewers and a 7.1/22 in 18-49 — up nearly 10% in both categories vs. last year (Miami-Dallas) for the best Game 2 scores since ABC took over the NBA Finals in 2003.
(Stuart Levine contributed to this report.)