An estimated 42 million viewers tuned in to see Ellen Morgan come out, making Wednesday's episode of ABC's "Ellen" one of the highest-rated shows of the season.
The audience, which was three times as large as normal for the sitcom starring Ellen DeGeneres, will probably make "Ellen" the most-watched show of the week.
In comparison, "ER" was No. 1 last week with an audience of about 37 million viewers. January's Super Bowl XXXI was seen by just under 129 million American viewers. And the last episode of "M*A*S*H" -- broadcast in 1983, when there were fewer people and fewer televisions -- had an audience of more than 50 million.
Locally, "Ellen" was seen in about 200,000 homes, based on overnight figures from Nielsen Media Research. Of the 37 major overnight markets on which the estimates are based, Baltimore had one of the smaller audiences, perhaps, because "Ellen" was competing with baseball and basketball games involving the Orioles and Bullets.
The largest audiences for "Ellen" Wednesday were in Boston, San Francisco, Seattle, Philadelphia, New York, Los Angeles and Washington in that order.
Thanks to the performance of "Ellen," ABC easily won the night. ABC had three times the audience of either CBS or NBC during the broadcast of "Ellen."
Pub Date: 5/02/97