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The overnight Nielsen ratings show ABC’s 2-hour Jaycee Dugard special was the network’s most-watched show since the NBA Finals last month and the biggest non-sports telecast since the Oscars in February. With 14.8 million Total Viewers, the Diane Sawyer special topped the combined competition on the broadcast networks which were mostly in re-runs. One exception was NBC’s “The Marriage Ref” which drew a series low at 10pm.
The Sawyer special, based on Dugard’s book “A Stolen Life” and including the first interview with Dugard, peaked in the 10pm half hour with 15.67 million viewers, when Chris Cuomo had a two-part investigation on how law enforcement authorities missed dozens of signs of Dugard being held against her will.
This was ABC’s biggest summer audience in the 2-hour time period with non-sports programming in nearly 11 years – since August 27, 2000.
For the night, in the A18-49 demo, ABC averaged a 2.5 rating/7 share in primetime, with CBS and FOX tied for second at 1.4/4. Univision was fourth at 0.8/2, and NBC fifth at 0.7/2.