Tuesday's memorial service in Los Angeles held in honor of music legend Michael Jackson drew more than 31 million television viewers in the U.S. across 18 broadcast and cable channels.
The star-studded memorial, held in honor of Jackson who died June 25 of cardiac arrest and featuring emotionally-driven performances from Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie, Usher, Mariah Carey and Jennifer Hudson, was the third most- watched funeral/burial event in recent television history, behind the 35 million viewers who tuned into the June 2004 primetime airing of President Ronald Reagan's burial and the 33 million viewers who watched Princess Diana's early morning funeral in September 2007, according to Nielsen Media Research data.
CNN drew 5.2 million viewers for its 1:00 p.m. to 4 p.m. coverage of the memorial, an increase of more than 1000% over the same period in 2008, according to a Disney-ABC Television Group analysis of Nielsen Media Research.
Fox News Channel (2.2 million, viewers up 203%), E! Entertainment (791,000 viewers, up 190%); MSNBC (1.3 million, up 750%) and BET (746,000, up 117%) were also among the cable networks posting significant increases with its memorial coverage compared to a year ago, according to Nielsen.