The first public appearance by Caitlyn Jenner since her transition boosted the ESPY Awards, which aired on ABC for the first time, to predictably larger ratings Wednesday, standing as the night’s top program in both demos and total viewers.
Wednesday’s three-hour show, in which Jenner was honored with the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage, averaged a 2.2 rating/8 share in adults 18-49 and 7.7 million viewers overall on the ABC stations from 8 to 11 p.m., with these numbers expected to rise a bit in the nationals once all West Coast viewing is accurately included. Last year’s telecast on ESPN did a 1.1 demo rating and about 2.2 million total viewers.
In Nielsen’s metered-market overnights, which are not affected by time zone differences, the 2015 ESPY Awards averaged a 6.0 household rating, more than triple last year’s telecast on ESPN (1.7) and the best ever for the kudocast, which began in 1993. The ESPYs peaked in the 10:30-10:45 p.m. hour with a 6.9 overnight rating.
According to Nielsen Twitter TV Ratings, roughly 2 million Tweets were sent about the 2015 ESPYs on Wednesday and were seen by an audience of about 9.3 million people. That unique audience was more than 13 times as large as the next biggest entertainment program of the night, MTV’s “Catfish” (684,000).
See more: ESPYs Burns and Highlights
Elsewhere in primetime Wednesday, CBS’ “Big Brother” (1.9 rating/8 share in adults 18-49, 6.0 million viewers overall) was nearly on par with last week and remained the top series. Fox’s “MasterChef” (1.4/6 in 18-49, 4.8 million viewers overall) was down 0.3 from its season high of last week, and lead-out “Bullseye” (0.8/3 in 18-49, 4.6 million viewers overall) was down a tenth for its finale.
CBS drama “Extant” (0.6/2 in 18-49, 5.8 million viewers overall) hit a series low, down 0.2 from last week and a tick below the 0.7 it did for its second-season premiere on July 1.
Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: ABC, 2.2/8; CBS, NBC and Fox, 1.1/4; CW, 0.3/1.
In total viewers: ABC, 7.7 million; CBS, 5.1 million; NBC, 4.5 million; Fox, 3.7 million; CW, 1.0 million,