Oprah Winfrey’s chat with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry went down as a ratings blockbuster. But the Oprah interview accomplished a surprise for CBS’s morning show.
Did you watch the Oprah interview Sunday night of the royal couple? When Oprah Winfrey asks questions, people apparently want to hear the answers. That’s especially true when her subject happens to be members of the Royal family.
In my time in the news business — which I lovingly refer to as my “real job” — people have often asked why we cover some stories. Others aren’t always so polite about it. They’ll say, in response to a story like this, “Nobody cares.”
Well, folks, people care.
Sunday night’s interview brought in 17 million viewers to CBS. If you look at the previous Sunday night, you’ll find CBS lured 6.5 million. That means Oprah and the Royals (which sounds like a musical group) delivered nearly three times the ratings!
During the interview, Markle claimed the family refused to make their son, Archie, a prince or to offer him security protection.
Even more disturbing, she claimed someone in the family raised concern about what Archie’s skin color might be.
Honestly, I had forgotten that Markle is biracial. But if her account is true, that fact remained on the mind of someone in the family.
Neither Markle nor Harry would identify the person. But Harry did rule out it being either Queen Elizabeth or her husband, Prince Philip.
The interview aired as a two-hour event on CBS. Despite the two-hour program, some clips didn’t make the final cut.
Winfrey promised to reveal additional clips the following morning on CBS This Morning.
Then came the surprise.
While CBS’s 60 Minutes remains a huge ratings blockbuster, the network failed to build a strong morning audience. In fact, an old joke says CBS hasn’t had success in the mornings since it took Captain Kangaroo off the air. Those of a certain age will fondly recall the children’s program, which ran from the 1950s until the network canceled it in 1984.
But that historic failure in morning ratings came to an abrupt end Monday morning.
Clips from the Oprah interview — and an appearance by Oprah herself — accomplished a first! CBS This Morning beat both Today and Good Morning America.
The always-third place news program won in both total viewers and the demo (a measure of people 25-54, the age range advertisers covet most).
That, friends, never happened before. That should tell us all something, whether we want to admit it or not.
I understand the curiosity about the Royal family. I have never fully been able to understand the obsession with it. But we’d be foolish to argue that the obsession doesn’t exist.
I only watched the last 45 minutes or so of it. I wasn’t interested enough to tune in from the start. And I figured if I were going to watch only a portion, they’d probably save the best material for the second hour.
Apparently, I wound up being extremely late to that party!
Yes, that Royal obsession clearly exists. And it drove a last-place morning show to the top of the heap in one single day.
So the next time you’re tempted to shake your head and scoff at stories like this, remind yourself of one key fact. Just because you don’t care doesn’t mean others don’t.