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Discovery’s ‘Skywire’ Special Dominates Sunday Ratings

Live walk averages 13 million viewers

The lure of live, high-stakes drama was evident in Sunday’s ratings, as Discovery’s “Skywire Live with Nik Wallendaspecial was easily the night’s most-watched program.

According to Nielsen, tightrope walker Nik Wallenda’s “skywire” scoot 1500 feet over the Grand Canyon drew 13 million viewers for its 23-minute walk segment (9:38-10:01 p.m. ET). The next most popular program of the night, CBS’ “60 Minutes,” nabbed 8.2 million.

The 70-minute pre-show (8 to 9:10 p.m. ET) averaged 6.25 million viewers, and the total-program average for “Skywire Live” (from 8 to 10:20 p.m. ET) was 10.68 million.

In total viewers and key demos, “Skywire” ranks as Discovery’s third most popular special of all time, behind only “Walking with Dinosaurs” and “Raising the Mammoth.”

Discovery said Monday that Wallenda’s feat, which was broadcast live in the U.S. and more than 200 other countries, generated 1.3 million tweets on Sunday and was the #1 most social show across broadcast and cable, according to Bluefin Signals, SocialGuide and Trendrr. As Wallenda completed his walk, Twitter volume peaked at 10:01 p.m. ET with 39,618 tweets per minute.

According to Bluefin Signals, “Skywire Live” also drove 71% of all social media comments surrounding TV in primetime on Sunday.

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