The Nielsen company said an average of 3.29 million people watched the network on Sunday as the deadly storm blew over Florida. Meteorologists were stationed all over the state, offering live shots in the intense wind and rain.
The Weather Channel's previous record was only a day earlier, with the 2.82 million people who watched the storm approach on Saturday. Before that, the standard came with the 2.48 million people who watched Hurricane Irene in 2011.
"The fact we achieved our highest ratings in the history of The Weather Channel during Irma is a testament to the trust we have built with our viewers for delivering important, life-saving information when they need it most," said network CEO Dave Shull. "I am so proud of our staff for their hard work during this storm."
More than 10 million people watched either The Weather Channel or the three cable news networks on Sunday night, and TWC beat CNN, Fox News Channel and MSNBC. The Weather Channel had 3.54 million viewers in prime time, compared with 205,000 viewers on the same night a year ago, Nielsen said.
Despite that coverage, and with much of Florida out of power, Nielsen estimated nearly 24.4 million people watched the NFL game between the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants Sunday night. That was even higher than the opening Sunday-night game in 2016.
With two prime-time football games, NBC easily won the week, averaging 10.5 million viewers. CBS averaged 4.6 million viewers in prime time, Fox had 4.4 million, ABC had 4.2 million, Telemundo had 1.6 million, Univision had 1.5 million, ION Television had 1.3 million and the CW had 1 million.
Fox News Channel was the week's most popular cable network, averaging 2.41 million viewers in prime time. ESPN had 2.34 million, MSNBC had 1.94 million, CNN had 1.88 million and USA had 1.53 million.
ABC's "World News Tonight" topped the evening newscasts with an average of 9 million viewers. NBC's "Nightly News" had 8.7 million and the "CBS Evening News" had 6.8 million viewers.
For the week of Sept. 4-10, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: NFL Football: N.Y. Giants at Dallas, NBC, 24.37 million; NFL Football: Kansas City at New England, NBC, 21.8 million; "Sunday Night NFL Pre-Kick," NBC, 17.9 million; "Thursday Night NFL Pre-Kick," NBC, 16.24 million; America's Got Talent" (Tuesday), NBC, 13.29 million; "Football Night in America" (Sunday, 8 p.m.), NBC, 12.77 million; "The OT," Fox, 12.13 million; "America's Got Talent" (Wednesday), NBC, 11.99 million; "NFL Opening Kick-Off Show," NBC, 9.85 million; "The Orville," Fox, 8.56 million.
ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co. CBS is owned by CBS Corp. CW is a joint venture of Warner Bros. Entertainment and CBS Corp. Fox is owned by 21st Century Fox. NBC and Telemundo are owned by Comcast Corp. ION Television is owned by ION Media Networks.
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