Nearly 14 million people tuned into the broadcast network primetime specials on the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado, according to preliminary ratings data from Nielsen. The CBS “48 Hours” special from 8-9PM drew 4.65 million people, the NBC “Dateline” special from 9-11PM drew 4.60 million people and the ABC “20/20″ special from 9-11PM drew 4.39 million viewers, according to the data. ABC notes that only the second hour of the program covered the Colorado shooting in-depth, and that hour averaged 4.66 million viewers. Update: NBC notes that it dedicated its Colorado coverage from 10-11PM, where it averaged 5.02 million viewers.
Note that cable news ratings from Friday will be available later today, and ratings data for the network evening newscasts and morning shows will be available later this week.
Fridays are usually a very slow night for all of TV, but the Colorado shootings clearly spurred viewer interest in TV news programming, an interest that seemed to continue through the weekend. On Saturday, another special “48 Hours” drew 4.48 million viewers, while a special two-hour “Dateline” on Sunday drew 4.2 million.