Maybe it was the A-list musical roster, or the urge for solidarity with the health care workers fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, or perhaps a captive audience had run out of Netflix shows to binge, but 20.7 million Americans tuned in to watch Saturday night's two-hour "One World: Together at Home" concert on 26 television networks, Nielsen reported Monday. That number includes only people watching on NBC, CBS, ABC, Univision, and other TV networks.
The concert was also streamed on Facebook, YouTube, Apple TV, and other platforms, and broadcast around the world. Nielsen didn't have those numbers, though it said based on Twitter, Instgram, and Facebook engagement, "the program was the most social telecast across television on its airing date and the most social TV special through March and April to date."
The concert, organized by Lady Gaga with the World Health Organization and Global Citizen, raised $127 million for COVID-19 relief and health care workers. Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, and Stephen Colbert co-hosted from their homes, and the performers included Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones, Taylor Swift, a John Legend-Sam Smith virtual duet, Jennifer Hudson, Eddie Vedder, Kacey Musgraves, several Keith Urbans, and Lady Gaga, both solo and with Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli. The most on-point song was probably a slightly modified cover of the Men Without Hats classic "Safety Dance," performed by Fallon, the Roots, and doctors and nurses.
The nearly 21 million viewers is about on par with a 2005 Hurricane Katrina relief concert and slightly less than a 2010 benefit concert after a devastating Haiti earthquake, Nielsen said. More than 59 million Americans tuned into a "tribute to heroes" at Yankee Stadium 10 days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, years before there was Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, or the phrase "social media."