Megyn Kelly’s interview with Donald Trump brought Fox more viewers than it typically sees on Tuesday but it was no match for CBS drama “NCIS,” which dominated the time period and the evening overall with its finale to Michael Weatherly. In fact, “NCIS” outdrew the combined viewership of ABC, Fox and NBC in the night’s opening hour.
In Nielsen’s preliminary national estimates, “NCIS” averaged a 2.5 rating/9 share in adults 18-49 and 17.6 million viewers overall in the 8 o’clock hour — rising from last week by 19% in the demo and picking up about 1.6 million total viewers. This was the show’s best deliveries since early January when it did a 2.7 in the demo and about 19 million total viewers during a time of peak viewing levels.
Compared with last season’s finale, “NCIS” was up a big 25% in 18-49 (2.5 vs. 2.0) and by 18% in total viewers (17.6 million vs. 14.9 million).
Tuesday’s episode was the swansong for Special Agent Tony DiNozzo, as Weatherly exited the show after 13 seasons. He won’t be gone from CBS or the night for long, though, as the network announced earlier today that Weatherly’s new drama “Bull” will air following “NCIS” on Tuesdays this fall.
At Fox, “Megyn Kelly Presents” averaged a 0.8 rating/3 share in adults 18-49 and 4.7 million viewers overall from 8 to 9 p.m., including a 0.9 in the demo and a little over 5 million during the opening half-hour that mostly featured the Fox News Channel host’s sit-down interview with the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. The network was down a tick in 18-49, but up vs. last week’s “New Girl” and “Grandfathered” by 20% in adults 25-54 (1.2 vs. 1.0) and by about 140% in total viewers (4.8 million vs. 2 million).
In total viewers, this was the second largest crowd for a Tuesday night telecast on Fox in 2016, behind a special episode of “American Idol” last month that drew nearly 6 million. Compared to her “Kelly File” averages in 2016, Tuesday’s special rated nearly twice as high in total viewers and nearly three times as high in adults 25-54.
And on the social media front, the Fox special stood as the No. 2 most-tweeted program of the night (behind “The Voice”) with 162,000, according to Nielsen Social.
In the interview, taped a couple of weeks ago at Trump Tower in New York, Trump said he has “great respect” for Kelly for setting up the sitdown. It was the first Trump interview with Kelly since their contentious exchange at last summer’s first presidential primary debate.
Tuesday’s “Megyn Kelly Presents” is the first in a potential series of specials for the broadcast network featuring the star of FNC’s popular “The Kelly File.” Last night’s installment also included Kelly’s chats with Laverne Cox, Robert Shapiro and Mike Douglas.
Following the Kelly special, the debut of Fox’s dating reality series “Coupled” did a meager 0.5/2 in 18-49 and 1.9 million total viewers.
NBC was steady week to week with “The Voice” (1.8/7 in 18-49, 8.9 million viewers overall), “Chicago Med” (1.6/5 in 18-49, 7.8 million viewers overall) and “Chicago Fire” (1.6/6 in 18-49, 7.8 million viewers overall). The network finished a close second on the night to CBS in 18-49, pulling to the lead at 10 with “Chicago Fire,” which has now won its timeslot against ABC and CBS with regular programming for 30 consecutive telecasts.
At ABC, “Fresh Off the Boat” (1.1/4 in 18-49, 4.2 million viewers overall) bounced back 0.2 from its low of last week, but “The Real O’Neals” held steady at its low (0.9/3 in 18-49, 3.3 million viewers overall). The two-hour season finale of “Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD” (1.0/3 in 18-49, 3.0 million viewers overall) was up a tick from last week’s hourlong average to match a 10-week high. Specifically at 10 p.m., where the show will air starting in the fall, its 1.0 was the best for ABC in more than four months.
And CW was steady with “The Flash” (1.3/5 in 18-49, 3.3 million viewers overall) and “Containment” (0.5/2 in 18-49, 1.4 million viewers overall). “Flash” again led its hour in men 18-34 (1.5/8).