NFL draft coverage reaches 11.2 million

NEW YORK (AP) — With someone walking onstage every few minutes to read a name off a piece of paper, the NFL draft wouldn’t seem like a big television draw. Yet the 11.2 million people who watched this year made it the week’s second most popular program.

The first round of the draft was shown on Fox, the NFL Network and several ESPN networks simultaneously. This year’s assignment of college football players to NFL teams was particularly suspenseful, with a handful of quality quarterbacks waiting to be drafted, and little consensus ahead of time over how things were going to go.

Still, it wasn’t quite as popular as the most-watched draft ever. That came in 2014 when another quarterback, in this case Johnny Manziel, was selected first by the Cleveland Browns. That draft reached 12.4 million people on Thursday, the Nielsen company said.

Coverage of the third day of the draft, when the players really start getting obscure, reached nearly 3 million and was the most ever, Nielsen said.

With ABC’s “Roseanne” in repeats, CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory” returned to the top of the ratings, reaching 11.8 million people.

CBS won the week in prime time, averaging 6.4 million viewers. ABC had 4.5 million, NBC had 4.4 million, Fox had 2.7 million, Univision had 1.6 million, ION Television had 1.3 million, Telemundo had 1.2 million and the CW had 1.1 million.

TNT was the most popular cable network, averaging 2.74 million viewers in prime time. Fox News Channel had 2.35 million, ESPN had 1.86 million, MSNBC had 1.75 million and USA had 1.45 million.

ABC’s “World News Tonight” topped the evening newscasts with an average of 8.3 million viewers. NBC’s “Nightly News” was second with 7.7 million and the “CBS Evening News” had 5.9 million.

For the week of April 23-29, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: “The Big Bang Theory” (Thursday, 8 p.m.) CBS, 11.8 million; “Young Sheldon,” CBS, 11.16 million; “The Voice” (Tuesday), NBC, 9.26 million; “60 Minutes,” CBS, 9.16 million; “American Idol” (Sunday), ABC, 8.77 million; “The Voice” (Monday), NBC, 8.43 million; “Mom,” CBS, 8.31 million; “Blue Bloods,” CBS, 8.13 million; “Survivor,” CBS, 7.82 million; “Hawaii Five-0,” CBS, 7.79 million.

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