Ratings high

Harry and Meghan boost for under pressure ITV

Meghan talking to Oprah Winfrey (ITV)

ITV’s broadcast of Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry was watched by 11.1m viewers, making it one of the most-viewed shows this year.

The interview, featuring the couple’s claims about their strained relationship with the Royal Family, peaked at 12.4m viewers.

It was ITV’s largest peak audience since the Rugby World Cup final in 2019 and the largest for any show – excluding coronavirus briefings – since the final of Strictly Come Dancing on BBC One in December.

The channel captured a 54% audience share during the show last night, while four out of five viewers aged 16 to 34 tuned in. Of the total viewing figures, 2.2m streamed the programme on ITV Hub.

The programme, made by Winfrey’s Harpo Productions, was watched by 17.1m Americans on CBS on Sunday night.

Other ITV programmes saw a knock-on benefit. Good Morning Britain averaged 1.2m viewers yesterday, its highest since the US election and third biggest overnight volume ever.

Co-presenter Piers Morgan stirred controversy yesterday when he cast doubts over comments Meghan made about feeling suicidal. Today he walked off the set during an exchange with a co-presenter.

ITV boss Carolyn McCall responded by saying she “completely believes” the Duchess of Sussex, and that Mr Morgan had been spoken to about his comments.

The audience figures, together with prime advertising revenues, will be a timely boost for the broadcaster which warned today that the advertising market remained “challenging”.

The programme figures will be seen as a pick-me-up for ITV after the company reported a sharp dip in profits and revenue. In early trade ITV shares were the worst performer in the FTSE 100, though they later recovered to close 4.16% higher at 126.5p.

Despite the poor trading of the last year, Ms McCall said she sees positive trends for revenue and is encouraged by the roadmap out of lockdown.

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