UPDATED with ratings for the post-primetime segments
Mariah Carey’s comeback and the mercury’s dip proved a potent combination for ABC’s “Dick Clark’s Primetime New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest” as viewership soared over last year’s telecast.
The 11:30 p.m.-12:32 a.m. ET segment that included Carey’s performance and the ball drop in Times Square delivered an astounding 8.2 rating in adults 18-49 — topping CBS’ Grammy Awards telecast in February as the most-watched music special of 2017 in the key demo. Total viewers for that hour hit 25.6 million, a spike of more than 5 million from the 2017 “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” special and nearly catching the 2017 Grammycast that brought in 26 million viewers.
Even the final hour of the special that stretched past 2 a.m. ET was up significantly from last year, with an average of 8.9 million viewers (up 24%) and a 3.1 demo rating (up 24%).
PREVIOUSLY: ABC averaged 10.5 million viewers and a 3.0 rating/12 share in the adults 18-49 demographic, a spike of more than 50% in both measures over the 2017 telecast, for the 8-10 p.m. ET portion of the annual special.
From 10-11 p.m., the crowd swelled to 15.7 million viewers and a whopping 5.2/20 in the key demo — up 35% and 39%, respectively, from last year. Those numbers marked the highest scores in that hour since the Ryan Seacrest edition of the “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” special bowed in 2000.
Specific viewership figures for the 11 p.m.-midnight hour when Carey performed won’t be available until Tuesday. But it’s clear that America showed up to give the singer another chance after a technical debacle last year led an angry Carey to make a hasty exit from the stage.
Meanwhile, Fox also saw a big bounce in viewership by planting Steve Harvey in Times Square for a live special. Compared to last year’s Pitbull-hosted event from Miami, “Fox’s New Year’s Eve With Steve Harvey” attracted nearly five times the crowd (5.8 million from 8-10 p.m. compared to 1.4 million).
It didn’t hurt that an NFL overrun fed a much larger audience into Harvey’s special than repeats of drama series “Bones” and “Lethal Weapon” did last year for Pitbull. Preliminary Nielsen estimates indicate at that Harvey had a lead-in of at least 10 million viewers from “The OT on Fox” in the 7 p.m. ET hour.
The Harvey special pulled in a healthy 1.8/8 in adults 18-49 from 8-10 p.m. Fox carried the live Harvey special from 8-10 p.m. After an hour break for local news on Fox affiliate stations, Harvey returned for the big countdown to 2018 from 11 p.m.-12:19 a.m. Ratings for the final segment won’t be available until Tuesday.