13 Million Watched Nik Wallenda Walk Over Niagara Falls
By Charles Schelle
June 18, 2012
Sarasota's Nik Wallenda earned huge ratings for ABC during his "Megastunts: Highwire Over Niagara Falls" on Friday and has a new show on The Science Channel premiering Monday night.
Nik Wallenda told the world Friday he wanted to inspire them after walking across Niagara Falls, and he had a huge audience Friday to do just that.
Wallenda's special on ABC "Megastunts: Highwire Over Niagara Falls" attracted 13.1 million viewers becoming not only the most-watched show of the night, but the most-watched non-sports summertime event since at least 2006 on any of the major four broadcast networks, according to a statement issued by ABC. It's also the most watched show in the 9 to 11 p.m. block in more than five years and most-watched Friday show since November 2007, according to ABC.
And those numbers don't include public viewing parties, such as the one in Sarasota, or a crowd gathered at a bar, as everyone wondered what is Wallenda doing and will he make it.
Wallenda appeared on Good Morning America Monday morning to recount his experience and even asked himself that same question during the walk, he told ABC:
“Mentally, your mind goes, ‘What are you doing?’ That’s where I tell myself you’re on a wire. The wire is the same whether you’re over land or over water or over the moon, it’s still the same so focus on the wire and, again, focus on the other side,” he said.
In the final half hour alone, when the walk actually took place, 13.1 million viewers tuned in during that time, according to ABC.
Even the pre-show at 8 p.m. ABC's Countdown to Niagara: The Greates Megastunts of All Time drew 5.7 million viewers, winning the night for broadcast.
Granted, the producers knew how to whet the appetite for the stunt, providing plenty of pre-event coverage for a 25-minute walk, as Examiner.com's Doug Miles took ABC to task:
Television producers have a way of overkill. Why ABC decided to devote three hours of air time to Sarasota nativeNik Wallenda’s walk over Niagara Falls on a high-wire when he didn’t even begin the stunt until well into the third hour is a case in point.
Wallenda also appeared on GMA to promote his 5,000 feet walk across the Grand Canyon and a new show, Danger by Design on Discovery's The Science Channel that premiers tonight at 9 p.m.