Trebek interview points to viewer interest in ‘Jeopardy!”

Tom Brady

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady charges onto the field for an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Tennessee Titans, Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa

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NEW YORK (AP) — If you judge by viewer interest in ABC’s interview with Alex Trebek, the upcoming “World Series” of “Jeopardy!” is shaping up as a winner for the network.

Michael Strahan’s interview with the cancer-stricken host of the popular game show was seen by 7.8 million viewers last week, the Nielsen company said. That made it among the 10 most popular prime-time shows last week, a strong showing amid NFL playoffs and college football bowl games.

On Tuesday, “Jeopardy” will kick off a prime-time tournament among three of the best and most popular players in the show’s history: James Holzhauer, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter. The first contestant to win three games gets a $1 million prize. The tournament on ABC could be as short as three nights or it could stretch to seven.

The NFL playoffs got off to a strong start, with 31 million people watching Saturday’s prime-time exit of the New England Patriots at the hands of the Tennessee Titans. Viewership put the game in the top spot in the Nielsen ratings.

Opening the traditional awards season, the “Golden Globes” show was seen by 18.3 million people Sunday on NBC. That’s down slightly from the 18.5 million who saw last year’s show.

CBS led the broadcast networks, averaging 7.8 million viewers in prime time. NBC had 6.6 million viewers, ABC had 4.1 million, Fox had 2.2 million, ION Television and Univision tied with 1.3 million; Telemundo had 740,000 and the CW had 580,000.

With the college football bowl season underway, ESPN led the cable networks with a prime-time average of 4.63 million viewers, Fox News Channel had 2.12 million, Hallmark had 1.34 million, A&E had 1.23 million and HGTV had 1.17 million.

On a slow week for news, ABC’s “World News Tonight” led the network evening newscasts with an average of 6.9 million viewers. NBC’s “Nightly News” had 6.2 million and the “CBS Evening News” had 4.3 million.

For the week of Dec. 30-Jan. 5, networks and viewerships were:

1. NFL Playoffs: Tennessee at New England, CBS, 31.42 million.

2. NFL Playoffs (partial): Seattle at Philadelphia, 24.66 million.

3. “Golden Globe Awards,” NBC, 18.32 million.

4. “Rose Bowl Post-Game Show,” ESPN, 13.16 million.

5. “Primetime New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, Part 2,” ABC, 10.83 million.

6. College Football Sugar Bowl: Georgia vs. Baylor, ESPN, 10.05 million.

7. “Hawaii Five-0,” CBS, 8.06 million.

8. “Magnum P.I., CBS, 7.83 million.

9. “What is Jeopardy!?” ABC, 7.81 million.

10. “Blue Bloods,” CBS, 7.68 million.

11. “60 Minutes,” CBS, 7.67 million.

12. “Primetime New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, Part 1, ABC, 7.33 million.

13. College Football Orange Bowl: Florida vs. Virginia, ESPN, 6.09 million.

14. “NCIS: Los Angeles,” CBS, 5.72 million.

15. College Football Alamo Bowl: Utah vs. Texas, ESPN, 5.67 million.

16. “God Friended Me,” CBS, 5.38 million.

17. “New Year’s Eve Prime-Time,” NBC, 5.32 million.

18. “Last Man Standing,” Fox, 5.21 million.

19. “The Neighborhood,” CBS, 5.09 million.

20. “NCIS,” CBS, 5.08 million.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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