Oprah’s CBS interview with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry drew in 17.1 million viewers

March 8, 2021, 6:04 PM UTC

Oprah Winfrey’s bombshell interview with Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, and Prince Harry captured an audience of 17.1 million viewers for CBS Sunday night, according to preliminary Nielsen figures.

The conversation, in which Meghan discussed contemplating suicide and revealed there were royal concerns about “how dark” son Archie’s skin color would be, drew a big audience and exposed deep schisms in the facade of Britain’s royal family. But it didn’t prove to have the drawing power of other recent big interviews.

A 2018 episode of 60 Minutes that featured a conversation with porn star Stormy Daniels about her affair with Donald Trump attracted over 24 million viewers. And Lesley Stahl’s 2020 interview with Donald Trump, which Trump leaked prior to its airing, had 17.4 million people watching.

The special was an explosive look at the royal family. In addition to the shocking claims above, Harry mentioned a rift with his father, Prince Charles, who had stopped taking his calls, and a fractured relationship with his brother, Prince William. And Harry revealed the couple have been living off his inheritance from his mother, Princess Diana, as the royal family had cut off all financial support—including security.

The CBS numbers aren’t the final count, though. Paramount also used the interview to promote its newly launched Paramount+, letting people who have cut the cable cord watch it live on the streaming service. It’s as yet unclear how many people signed up for a free trial to watch and how many of the existing 30 million global subscribers from the legacy CBS All Access watched the program.

Still, it’s unlikely that the final numbers will top Winfrey’s biggest primetime interviews. In 1993, the host spoke with Michael Jackson at his Neverland Ranch. That conversation was viewed by over 62 million people.