List of most-watched television episodes

From Academic Kids

The following is a list of most-watched television episodes, organized by country and based on various criteria.

Contents

United Kingdom

Most watched episodes

(by total number of viewers, [1] (http://www.corrie.net/chat/ratucs/press/top100.html))

  1. Only Fools and Horses Christmas special, 24.35 million (1996)
  2. To the Manor Born final episode, 23.95 million (1981)
  3. Royal Variety Performance 22.85 million (1967)
  4. Panorama interview with Diana, Princess of Wales, 22.75 million (1995)
  5. Royal Variety Performance 22.65 million (1965)

Most watched movies

(by total number of viewers, [2] (http://www.corrie.net/chat/ratucs/press/top100.html); dates are when the movies aired, not necessarily when they were produced.)

  1. Live and Let Die, 23.50 million (1996, ITV)
  2. Jaws, 23.25 million (1981, ITV)
  3. The Spy Who Loved Me 22.90 million (1982, ITV)
  4. Diamonds Are Forever 22.15 million (1981, ITV)
  5. Crocodile Dundee 21.75 million (1989, ITV)

United States

Sources: BBC (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/tv_and_radio/3459903.stm), Reuters (http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=entertainmentNews&storyID=5078274), Nielsen Media Research (http://www.nielsenmedia.com/ratings/topnetworktelecasts.htm)

Most watched episodes

(by percentage of population, but listing total viewers; source: BBC (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/tv_and_radio/3459903.stm))

  1. M*A*S*H finale, 105.9 million viewers (February 28, 1983)
  2. The Ed Sullivan Show with guests The Beatles, 73 million (February 9, 1964)
  3. The Ed Sullivan Show with guests The Beatles, 70.7 million (February 16, 1964)
  4. Super Bowl XVI, 85.2 million (January 24, 1982)
  5. Dallas "Who Shot J.R.?", 83 million (November 21, 1980)

One-off events

(ranked by "Household Rating", homes could include many viewers; source: Nielsen Media Research (http://www.nielsenmedia.com/ratings/topnetworktelecasts.htm))

  1. M*A*S*H finale, 50.15 million homes, 60.2% of households
  2. Dallas, "Who Shot J.R.?" 41.47 million, 53.3%
  3. Roots finale, 36.38 million, 51.1% (January 30, 1977)
  4. Super Bowl XVI, 40.02 million, 49.1%
  5. Super Bowl XVII, 40.48 million, 48.6% (January 30), 1983)
  6. XVII Winter Olympics (Nancy Kerrigan-Tonya Harding) Day 2, 45.69 million, 48.5% (February 24), 1994)
  7. Super Bowl XX, 41.49 million, 48.3% (January 26, 1986)
  8. Gone with the Wind telecast (part 1), 33.96 million, 47.7% (]], 1976)
  9. Gone with the Wind telecast (part 2), 33.75 million, 47.4% (November 7, 1976)
  10. Super Bowl XII, 34.41 million, 47.2% (January 15, 1978)

Note: according to Cinderella (TV), the 1957 broadcast had 107 million viewers, which is more than the M*A*S*H finale (and thus it may have a higher household rating). However, it is not included on most lists of this nature and without the household rating it cannot be included on this list.

Most watched finales

(by total viewers; source: Reuters (http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=entertainmentNews&storyID=5078274))

  1. M*A*S*H, 105.9 million viewers (1983)
  2. Cheers, 80.4 million, (1993)
  3. Seinfeld, 76.3 million (1998)
  4. Friends, 52.5 million (2004)

The most-watched finale is not necessarily a show's most-watched episode. Friends, for example, had 52.9 million viewers for a 1996 episode which followed Super Bowl XXX.

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