FTSE-listed ITV will tonight be hoping to recreate the ratings win CBS enjoyed with the much-anticipated Oprah Winfrey interview with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
The interview will air on ITV in the UK tonight at 9pm after the UK broadcaster edged out rivals Sky and Discovery for the coveted TV special.
Sources told Variety that ITV paid close to £1m for the rights.
ITV shares closed up 4.1 per cent to 121p this evening.
Some 17.1m Americans tuned in to watch Winfrey’s television interview with Harry and Meghan, broadcaster CBS said today.
CBS said Sunday’s two-hour interview was the most watched TV special outside the annual National Football League Super Bowl in a year. In comparison, the Super Bowl draws an audience of around 100m and last year’s Oscars telecast was watched by 23.6m people.
According to Variety, BBC discounted itself from the biding early on and was never involved in the bidding process. It might have been problematic for the BBC to air the interview, as the inquiry into Panorama’s notorious 1995 interview with Princess Diana is currently ongoing.
The BBC aired the Queen’s annual Commonwealth broadcast on Sunday, the same day as the CBS interview.
At the time of snagging the deal Kevin Lygo, ITV managing director media and entertainment, said: “This interview is already a national talking point and ITV is pleased to be able to offer UK audiences the opportunity to see it.”
Lygo’s prediction seemed to come to pass, as in the week leading up to tonight’s interview Harry, Meghan and other Royals’ names have not been far from the headlines.
Royal viewing loyalty could mean ITV is on to a winner, as four of the top 10 most viewed TV programmes in the UK of all time involve the Royal family.