Afghanistan, Hurricane Ida coverage gripped TV viewers

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In this image provided by the U.S. Army, paratroopers assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division, and others, prepare to board a C-17 cargo plane at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Aug. 30, 2021. (Master Sgt. Alexander Burnett/U.S. Army via AP)

LOS ANGELES – The U.S. evacuation from Afghanistan and fearsome Hurricane Ida drew viewers to cable channels that focused on the unfolding events.

Fox News Channel had the lion's share of the most-watched cable shows last week, 19 of the top 20, according to Nielsen figures out Tuesday. MSNBC got a less dramatic ratings bump from the prior week.

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Last week's coverage of the removal of U.S. citizens and Afghans at risk included a devastating airport suicide bombing that killed 13 U.S. service members and more than 160 Afghans. The evacuation ended Monday.

The Weather Channel’s audience grew as Ida barreled toward the Gulf Coast. The channel’s ratings among young adult viewers increased by 38% last week over the same period in 2020.

As Ida made landfall in Louisiana last Sunday, Weather Channel was the most-watched on cable among viewers 25 to 54.

The destructive hurricane cost lives and left more than 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi without power.

Fox News improved its performance from the previous week when it topped all broadcast and cable outlets. But NBC, on the strength of its top-rated “America's Got Talent” and football broadcasts, was the most-watched network.

NBC averaged 3.41 million viewers last week. CBS had 2.71 million, ABC had 2.64 million, Fox had 1.41 million, Ion Television had 1.13 million, Univision had 1.38 million and Telemundo had 980,000.

Fox News Channel lead among cable outlets with an average 3.1 million viewers. MSNBC had 1.38 million, ESPN had 1.25 million, HGTV had 1.15 million and CNN had 985,000.

ABC’s “World News Tonight” led the evening news ratings race, with an average of 8.1 million viewers last week. NBC’s “Nightly News” was second with 6.9 million and the “CBS Evening News” had 4.7 million.

For the week of Aug. 23-29, the 20 most-watched programs, their networks and viewerships:

1. “America’s Got Talent” (Tuesday), NBC, 6.81 million.

2. “60 Minutes Presents,” CBS, 6.75 million.

3. “America’s Got Talent” (Wednesday), NBC, 5.79 million.

4. “The Five” (Thursday), Fox News Channel, 5.85 million.

5. “Hannity” (Thursday), Fox News Channel, 5.45 million.

6. NFL Pre-season: Cleveland at Atlanta, NBC, 5.1 million.

7. “Tucker Carlson Tonight" (Thursday), Fox News Channel, 4.99 million.

8. “America's Funniest Home Videos,” ABC, 4.76 million.

9. “Celebrity Family Feud,” ABC. 4.56 million.

10. “Special Report with Bret Baier” (Tuesday), Fox News Channel, 4.24 million.

11. “The Five” (Tuesday), Fox News Channel, 4.17 million.

12. “Big Brother” (Sunday), CBS, 4.11 million.

13. “The Chase,” ABC, 3.98 million.

14. “Big Brother” (Thursday), 3.97 million.

15. “NASCAR Cup Series Race,” NBC, 3.93 million.

16. “Big Brother” (Wednesday), CBS, 3.8 million.

17. “The Ingraham Angle" (Thursday), Fox News Channel, 3.75 million.

18. “Tucker Carlson Tonight” (Wednesday), Fox News Channel, 3.71 million.

19. “Tucker Carlson Tonight” (Monday), Fox News Channel, 3.7 million.

20. “The Five” (Friday), Fox News Channel, 3.69 million.


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