This image released by NBC shows Rachel Maddow, host of "The Rachel Maddow Show," on MSNBC. Maddow was at the center of the political media universe Tuesday, March 14, 2017, with a story on President Donald Trump’s tax returns. (MSNBC via AP)
AP Television Writer
Despite some criticism of how the show played out, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow scored her biggest audience ever on Tuesday after tweeting that she had gotten her hands on some of President Donald Trump's tax records for 2005.
Her show reached 4.13 million people, the Nielsen company said. It was second only to a "Countdown" episode with Keith Olbermann just before the 2008 election as MSNBC's most-watched series episode ever, Nielsen said.
The ratings showed the power of social media. Maddow had tweeted less than 90 minutes before her show about the tax return scoop and word quickly spread online. But some viewers were disappointed that the tax records — two pages from a 2005 return — were not more extensive. She also was criticized for waiting nearly 20 minutes before revealing what the tax records showed.
Her show has been on a high since Trump took office. Nielsen said she's averaged 2.1 million viewers per night so far this year, up from 1.1 million in 2016.
The attention paid to her show also didn't take away from corporate cousin NBC's season finale of "This is Us," which reached a series-record 12.8 million viewers on Tuesday. The drama's audience is likely to increase with delayed viewing.
Nielsen released its prime-time ratings for last week on Thursday, two days later than normal, because of a power outage over the weekend at one of its facilities in Florida.
CBS won the week in prime-time, averaging 7.3 million viewers. NBC was second with 5.9 million, and won the 18-to-49-year-old age group that advertisers covet. ABC had 4.4 million, Fox had 2.6 million, Univision had 1.7 million, the CW had 1.34 million, Telemundo had 1.33 million and ION Television had 1.2 million.
Fox News Channel was the week's most popular cable network, averaging 2.43 million viewers. ESPN had 1.75 million, HGTV had 1.65 million, MSNBC had 1.64 million and Discovery had 1.5 million.
ABC's "World News Tonight" topped the evening newscasts with an average of 8.4 million viewers. NBC's "Nightly News" had 8.3 million and the "CBS Evening News" had 6.7 million.
For the week of March 6-12, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: "NCIS," CBS, 14.18 million; "The Big Bang Theory," CBS, 13.08 million; "The Voice" (Monday), NBC, 12 million; "The Voice" (Tuesday), NBC, 11.62 million; "This is Us," NBC, 11.15 million; "The Walking Dead," AMC, 10.68 million; "Bull," CBS, 10.39 million; "Little Big Shots," NBC, 10.12 million; "60 Minutes," CBS, 9.97 million; "Blue Bloods," CBS, 9.36 million.
ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co. CBS is owned by CBS Corp. CW is a joint venture of Warner Bros. Entertainment and CBS Corp. Fox is owned by 21st Century Fox. NBC and Telemundo are owned by Comcast Corp. ION Television is owned by ION Media Networks.