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According to BARB figures reported by overnights.tv, the show attracted a “total audience” of 11.4 million, capturing 54.4 percent of viewers, adding that it was a “much younger profile than normal and a 72 percent share for adults 25-34.”
The ratings make the explosive two-hour special the most watched show in the U.K. this year by some distance, beating the final of The Masked Singer, which drew 8.6 million viewers in February.
“Advertising demand was strong for the program,” ITV CEO Carolyn McCall said during an earnings conference call with reporters on Tuesday before overnight ratings were available. She added her team was “obviously hopeful it was watched by a lot of people in the country, it sounds like it might have been.”
The TV event had delivered a big audience in the U.S. on Sunday night. The two-hour special, produced by Winfrey’s Harpo Productions, averaged 17.14 million viewers on CBS, according to Nielsen’s fast national numbers. Aside from the post-Super Bowl premiere of The Equalizer on Feb. 7, that’s the biggest audience for any non-sports program on the broadcast networks this season. It earned a 2.6 rating in the key advertising demographic of adults 18-49, trailing only a Thanksgiving night episode of The Masked Singer (which had benefited from a big NFL lead-in) on the U.S. broadcast networks this season.
Oprah With Meghan and Harry had on Monday drawn furious reactions in the British press after its airing in the U.S. It quickly became the No. 1 trending topic on social media in Britain on Monday, and all the major news networks and newspapers led with wall-to-wall coverage.
In the interview, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex laid bare some of the inner workings of the royal family and outlined their reasons for stepping away from royal duties and moving to the U.S. Among a host of newsworthy revelations, Markle said that she had contemplated suicide over press attacks and racism and that the royal family had concerns about the color of couple’s son’s skin.
Among the most outspoken media personalities in Britain was Piers Morgan, who used his Good Morning Britain breakfast news show — also on ITV — to attack both royals. “I don’t believe a word she says,” he said on Monday. “I wouldn’t believe her if she read me a weather report.”
Among those to react to Morgan was British mental health charity Mind, which is a supporter of ITV’s mental health campaign, “Get Britain Talking.” Just prior to the interview airing on the network in the U.K., it put out a statement, saying: “We were disappointed and concerned to see Piers Morgan’s comments on not believing Meghan’s experience about suicidal thoughts today.” Mind added that it was “in conversations with ITV about this at the moment.”
On Tuesday morning, Morgan stormed off the set of the U.K. morning show after a colleague called him out on his comments.
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