At least 23.2 million Americans watched on television this week as former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd, per the AP. The Nielsen company's estimate came from viewership figures on 11 different networks that carried Tuesday's verdict live. The actual audience was likely higher, however, since Nielsen's count did not include ESPN, which also carried the verdict. Word spread that the verdict was coming some 90 minutes before it was delivered, giving time for an audience to gather.
CNN, with an estimated 4.03 million viewers, had the biggest audience, according to Nielsen. ABC, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, NBC and CBS all had at least 3 million people watching. Still, the total is just a fraction of what remains the most-watched verdict in US history: that of OJ Simpson, which was viewed by more than 150 million people, or 57% of Americans, on Oct. 3, 1995. In 2016, Vanity Fair looked at just how far ahead of other televised events that one remains, noting just 37.8 million people watched Barack Obama's 2009 inauguration. The most-watched Super Bowl, in 2015, grabbed 114 million viewers. (Read more Derek Chauvin stories.)