List of most-watched television broadcasts

List of most-watched television broadcasts

The following is a list of most-watched television broadcasts, organized by country and based on various criteria.


"Follow Me!" a BBC beginner's English programme broadcast in China as part of the re-establishment of an educational system after the end of the Cultural Revolution. [ China's television revolution] , from the website of the BBC programme "From Our Own Correspondent"] [ Teacher Flower] , from the website of the BBC World Service] The programme, broadcast on one of China's three channels from 1981 to 1989, has been estimated to have attracted a nightly audience of 350 million people during the early 1980s.


The TV series "Matador" originally aired on DR between November 1978 and January 1982, but has enjoyed repeated successful reruns in 1984-85, 1989-90, 1997-98 and 2006-07. The 1985 airing of the series finale still stands as the most viewed ever in Danish TV history, with appr. 3.6 million viewers on May 26th that year, this in a country of some 5.1 million people.


Most-watched U.S. television series episodes

United Kingdom

Important Note: None of these figures are verified official figures and are in fact under some dispute.

Most-watched episodes

"(by total number of viewersBritish Film Institute, via [ The Daily Mail] ] )"

United States

"Sources: [ BBC] , [ Reuters] , [ Nielsen Media Research] "

Highest rated network telecasts

Elvis Presley's first appearance on "The Ed Sullivan Show" and the "Lucy Goes to the Hospital" episode of "I Love Lucy" hold the record as the highest rated telecasts of all timeFact|date=September 2008.

Most-watched series finales

("sources: Reuters, ratings data from USA Today weekly ratings charts")


There are no exact figures available for global television events. However, a report by IPG media agency Initiative Worldwide stated that the 2006 FIFA World Cup was the most-watched sporting event of that year with an average 1.2 billion viewers per match [ [ International ] ] .

Such statistics have, however, proved controversial, failing to stand up to scrutiny [ [ The Independent: Why Fifa's claim of one billion TV viewers was a quarter right ] ] , and audience figures cited in billions are practically unverifiable.

It is popularly believed that the British TV show "Top Gear" is one of the most watched shows around the world. It is broadcast in 117 countries and is purportedly watched by up to one billion people. [ [ Top Gear around the world - Auto Trader UK - News and Reviews Hub ] ]

The funeral of Princess Diana was watched by an estimated 2.5 billion people. [ [ BBC ON THIS DAY | 6 | 1997: Diana's funeral watched by millions ] ]


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