Oprah Winfrey interviews Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
Harpo Productions | Joe Pugliese | Getty Images
Around 17.1 million people, citing Nielsen data, signed up for Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on CBS on Sunday evening, according to the network.
The two-hour session, titled “Oprah With Meghan and Harry: A CBS Primetime Special,” scored a 2.6 in adults between 18 and 49 years old. Those numbers are likely to grow as customized data comes in from home ad and delayed ad for the next day or so. Nielsen traditionally publishes the official numbers for Sunday events on late Tuesday.
This is the largest prime time audience for entertainment specials during the current 2020-2021 TV season and CBS’s second largest live streaming event outside of the National Football League and Super Bowl Sunday.
Those preliminary numbers are a solid return for CBS, which reportedly paid Oprahs Harpo Productions a royalty of between $ 7 million and $ 9 million to air the special. Meghan and Harry weren’t paid to attend the interview.
By comparison, more people saw the interview than the Emmy Awards in September and the Golden Globes combined last month. The interview is proof that even in the age of streaming there are still events that can reach a considerable number of viewers for traditional network television.
The interview with Oprah went in depth into the reasons the couple had decided to leave England and break away from their royal duties.
Meghan and Harry addressed the lack of support Meghan received when she went to the palace about mental health issues, the denial of security protection for the couple’s child, Archie, and the royals’ concerns about what Archie’s skin tone will look like after he is born would.
The parallels between Meghan and Harry’s mother Diana were clear even before the couple made their own comparisons during the interview. Harry noted that they were financially cut off from the royal family in early 2020 and that he and Meghan could only get by on the legacy his mother had left him.
He added that the deals he and Meghan had done with Netflix and Spotify were done in part to meet their ongoing security needs.
The couple also announced that they were married in a small intimate ceremony ahead of the official royal wedding and announced that their second child is a girl.