New Year's Eve Draws Big TV Crowd, Down Slightly vs. 2018

Jeff Neira/ABC

The broadcast networks' annual New Year's Eve specials drew a sizable audience, albeit not quite as big as a year ago.

ABC, Fox and NBC combined to average 31.28 million viewers for their late-night telecasts ringing in 2020, down about 5 percent from 32.78 million a year earlier. The declines were much less sharp than they were on the last night of 2018, when early numbers were off double digits from the prior year.

Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve With Ryan Seacrest on ABC, per usual, led the others by a wide margin. It delivered 17.82 million viewers from 11:30 p.m.-1:15 a.m., off about 4 percent vs. last year, and peaked with 21 million viewers at midnight. NBC's New Year's Eve 2020 came in at 7.83 million viewers (off a slight 2 percent year to year), and Fox's New Year's Eve With Steve Harvey averaged 5.63 million, down 9 percent from a year ago.

The demographic declines for the three broadcasts were a little sharper, with New Year's Rockin' Eve down 9 percent at 5.2 rating among adults 18-49, NBC off 11 percent at 2.1 and Fox down almost 20 percent at 1.8. 

On cable, CNN's four-hour-plus coverage averaged 1.73 million viewers, down a little less than 5 percent year to year. 

ABC also ruled the primetime portion of New Year's Eve, averaging a little under 8.5 million viewers and a 2.4 rating in the 18-49 demo (the 10 p.m. portion spiked to 10.82 million and 3.2). NBC pulled 4.38 million viewers for A Toast to 2019 and 5.31 million for its New Year's Eve primetime special. Fox's Harvey-led special delivered 2.8 million viewers in primetime.

New Year's Rockin' Eve is produced by Dick Clark Productions, a division of Valence Media, parent company of The Hollywood Reporter