Royal Wedding Draws 23 Million Live U.S. Witnesses: Nielsen

The much-anticipated royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton drew almost 23 million live viewers in the colonies on Friday morning.

The wedding coverage from Westminster Abbey from 6 a.m. to 7:15 a.m. on April 29 averaged 18.5 million households and 22.8 million viewers across 11 networks, according to Nielsen data. The measurement company listed ABC, CBS, NBC, Telemundo, Univision, BBC America, CNN, E!, Fox News Channel, MSNBC and TLC as covering the pomp, circumstance and ceremony live.

Those numbers easily surpassed other recent royal nuptials. When Prince Charles married Lady Diana Spencer in 1981 it was only carried by three networks. That ceremony was watched by 14.2 million households and drew an 18.3 rating.
When Prince Charles married Camilla Parker Bowles in 2005, three networks televised the event, which attracted 3.3 million homes, generating a 3.0 rating and 3.65 million viewers.

CNN's coverage from 4-10 a.m. delivered 1.66 million total viewers and 714,000 adults 25 to 54 to top the cable ranks. Fox News Channel was second with 1.55 million total viewers and 470,000 adults 25 to 54. For its part,  MSNBC drew 629,000 viewers, including 290,000 in the aforementioned "news" demo.

ABC's Good Morning America from 7 a.m.-9 a.m. attracted 8.65 million total viewers and a 2.6 rating with aduts 25-54. ABC News' s full royal wedding coverage from 4 a.m.-10 a.m. averaged 6.15 million viewers and and a 1.9 rating in the demo, according to Nielsen Fast Nationals data.

NBC's Today drew more than 9.6 million viewers from 7 a.m-9 a.m. The third hour delivered 5.7 million viewers, while the fourth had 3.2 million viewers.

It has been estimated, perhaps vastly overestimated, that the April 29 event would attract some 2 billion watchers worldwide, when all TV and online components, live and recorded, are factored in.