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Nik Wallenda’s Tightrope Walks Draw Nearly 6 Million Viewers

Nik Wallenda’s latest daredevil stunt on Discovery was a pretty big draw on cable Sunday night — but up against football and “The Walking Dead,” it came nowhere near last year’s special.

Nielsen estimates that “Skyscraper Live” averaged 5.82 million viewers for its entire telecast, including a peak of 6.7 million for the blindfold walk from 9:01-9:03 p.m. ET between two skyscrapers 600 feet above downtown Chicago. The first walk Sunday from 8:35-8:42 p.m. ET averaged 5.84 million viewers.

Sunday’s special, which went up against the start of “Sunday Night Football” and overlapped briefly with AMC’s “The Walking Dead” in much of the country, was Discovery’s most-watched telecast of the year and the second most popular program on the network in the last four years.

Wallenda’s last daredevil TV spectacle came in the summer of 2013, when Discovery’s “Skywire Live with Nik Wallenda” — in which he scooted 1500 feet over the Grand Canyon — was that night’s most-watched program. Its total-program average (8-10:20 p.m. ET) was 10.68 million, and the 23-minute walk segment (9:38-10:01 p.m. ET) drew about 13 million.

It ranks as Discovery’s third most popular special of all time, behind only “Walking with Dinosaurs” and “Raising the Mammoth.”

As for “The Walking Dead,” Sunday’s episode averaged a preliminary 7.6 rating in adults 18-49 and 14.5 million viewers overall. In the demo, it is projected to finish ahead of NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” (roughly 6.8) for the second time this fall.


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