Ryan Seacrest still king of New Year’s Eve television

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Ja Rule, Ashanti, Ryan Seacrest

Ja Rule, Ashanti and Ryan Seacrest perform at the Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration on Friday, Dec. 31, 2021, in New York. (Photo by Ben Hider/Invision/AP)

NEW YORK (AP) — Ryan Seacrest is still the king of New Year’s Eve television, no matter what Andy Cohen may think.

Seacrest, inheritor of ABC’s 50-year-old “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” from Dick Clark, reached 19.6 million viewers between 11:30 p.m. and 12:30 a.m. last weekend, the Nielsen company said. During the 15-minute interval where the ball dropped in New York’s Times Square, his audience jumped to 24.2 million people.

It was the show’s biggest audience in four years, Nielsen said.

A drunken Cohen, who was co-hosting CNN’s New Year’s Eve special also from Times Square, attracted attention for referring to “Ryan Seacrest’s group of losers.” He said that people watching ABC had “seen nothing.”

Sobered up two days later, Cohen said on his SiriusXM show said that he really liked Seacrest. “He’s a great guy, and I really regret saying that. I was just stupid and drunk and feeling it,” he said.

Cohen expressed no regret for calling former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio “a horrible mayor.” He was scolded by CNN for saying it, however, although the network made a point of saying Cohen was invited back for the next New Year’s Eve celebration.

CNN’s shot-filled celebration with Cohen and Anderson Cooper reached 3.3 million viewers between 11 p.m. and 12:30 a.m., outdoing Fox News Channel’s Nashville-based show, which had 2.1 million people watching.

NBC, which tried a new show with Miley Cyrus and Pete Davidson, reached 6.3 million during the same time as Seacrest’s fest, Nielsen said. CBS’ country-oriented show had 5.2 million viewers.

Among broadcast networks last week, NBC had the highest prime-time average of 4.4 million viewers. CBS had 3.9 million, Fox had 3 million, ABC had 2.8 million, Univision had 1.4 million, Ion Television had 1 million and Telemundo had 890,000.

Its schedule stuffed with college football bowl games, ESPN had the highest prime-time average of any network last week, at 8.09 million. Fox News Channel was the second-ranked cable network at 1.72 million, Paramount had 1.59 million, Hallmark had 1.3 million and HGTV had 1.07 million.

Evening news ratings were not immediately available.

For the week of Dec. 27 to Jan. 2, the top 20 prime-time programs, their networks and viewerships:

1. NFL Football: Minnesota at Green Bay, NBC, 18.55 million.

2. College Football Playoff: Georgia vs. Michigan, ESPN, 16.51 million.

3. Rose Bowl: Ohio State vs. Utah, ESPN, 15.99 million.

4. “College Football Studio” (Friday, 7:28 p.m.), ESPN, 15.97 million.

5. “NFL Pregame Show,” NBC, 14.68 million.

6. “The OT,” Fox, 14.25 million.

7. “College Football Studio” (Friday, 7:11 p.m.), ESPN, 13.4 million.

8. NFL Football: Miami at New Orleans, ESPN, 12.31 million.

9. “Football Night in America, Part 3,” NBC, 11.17 million.

10. Sugar Bowl: Baylor vs. Mississippi, ESPN, 9.51 million.

11. “Yellowstone,” Paramount, 9.34 million.

12. “Primetime New Year’s Rockin’ Eve,” ABC, 8.79 million.

13. Peach Bowl: Pittsburgh vs. Michigan St., ESPN, 7.65 million.

14. “College Football Studio” (Friday 11 p.m.), ESPN, 7.15 million.

15. “60 Minutes,” CBS, 7.09 million.

16. “The Equalizer,” CBS, 6.53 million.

17. “Miley’s New Year’s Eve Party,” NBC, 5.82 million.

18. “Football Night in America, Part 2,” NBC, 5.263 million.

19. “The Price is Right 50th Anniversary,” CBS, 5.258 million.

20. “NCIS: Los Angeles,” CBS, 5.17 million.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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