HBO’s doc ‘Leaving Neverland’ becomes a network favorite

This image released by HBO shows a young Wade Robson shaking hands with pop icon Michael Jackson in 1987, in a scene from the documentary "Leaving Neverland." The unsparing documentary about Jackson and his alleged sexual abuse is already the third most-watched documentary of the past decade at the prime cable network, which takes pride in its documentary schedule. The Nielsen company said the first half of the four-hour program has been seen by 3.67 million people. (Dan Reed/HBO via AP)

NEW YORK (AP) — HBO’s “Leaving Neverland” is heading up the charts.

The unsparing documentary about Michael Jackson and his alleged sexual abuse is already the third most-watched documentary of the past decade at the prime cable network, which takes pride in its documentary schedule. It’s likely to surpass “Bright Lights,” the movie about Debbie Reynolds and her daughter Carrie Fisher, which is currently in second place, the network said.

The first half of the four-hour program on Jackson has been seen by 3.67 million people, the Nielsen company said. The second half stands at 2.45 million. Those totals are expected to go up as people catch up with the program through delayed viewing.

HBO’s most-watched documentary over the past decade is “Going Clear,” about Scientology.

CBS won another week in prime-time behind the soon-to-depart comedy “The Big Bang Theory,” and its prequel, “Young Sheldon.”

CBS averaged 5.8 million viewers in prime time. ABC had 5.3 million viewers, NBC had 4.7 million, Fox had 2.5 million, ION Television had 1.4 million, Univision had 1.3 million, Telemundo had 1.1 million and the CW had 960,000.

Fox News Channel was the week’s most popular cable network, averaging 2.26 million in prime time. MSNBC had 1.92 million, HGTV had 1.33 million, ESPN had 1.26 million and USA had 1.24 million.

ABC’s “World News Tonight” topped the evening newscasts with an average of 9.3 million viewers. NBC’s “Nightly News” had 8.6 million and the “CBS Evening News” had 6.3 million.

For the week of March 4-10, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: “The Big Bang Theory,” CBS, 13 million; “Young Sheldon,” CBS, 11.58 million; “The Voice” (Monday), NBC, 10.97 million; “The Voice” (Tuesday), NBC, 10.22 million; “60 Minutes,” CBS, 8.6 million; “Mom,” CBS, 8.3 million; “Blue Bloods,” CBS, 8.26 million; “American Idol” (Wednesday), ABC, 7.828 million; “This is Us,” NBC, 7.827 million; “NCIS,” CBS, 7.49 million.

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ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co. CBS is owned by CBS Corp. CW is a joint venture of Warner Bros. Entertainment and CBS Corp. Fox is owned by 21st Century Fox. NBC and Telemundo are owned by Comcast Corp. ION Television is owned by ION Media Networks.

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Online: http://www.nielsen.com

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