Nik Wallenda’s death-defying 23 minute high-wire walk across a gorge near the Grand Canyon was watched by about 13 million people on Discovery according to preliminary Nielsen ratings that were trumpeted by the cable channel. Nothing else on television on Sunday night came close.
Another 300,000 or so watched the Web stream provided by Discovery, the channel said. The high-wire walk was also televised around the world, but comparable ratings were not available.
The ratings for Wallenda’s walk across the gorge were more or less equal to the ratings on the night last year when he walked across Niagara Falls. That stunt, televised by ABC, peaked around 13.1 million viewers, setting a nearly five-year record for the broadcast network.
ABC required Wallenda to wear a safety harness, much to his dissatisfaction. Partly for that reason, Wallenda signed up with Discovery for his next televised spectacle.