Not a bad cumulative average viewership for that timeslot. About what an average late Sunday afternoon national NFL game does, and that's when most people are awake and not getting ready to go to work.
However, even assuming that the number who watched any part of the telecast is much larger than the average, that's not remotely close to the share needed to add up to the ridiculous pre-broadcast estimates of 2 billion worldwide.
Note: These numbers probably include Same Day DVR viewing. They don’t explicitly note that, but pretty much every number Nielsen releases to the public (as opposed to paying subscribers) for a single show is Live+SD.
On Friday, April 29, 2011, the much anticipated Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton took place at Westminster Abbey. The wedding coverage was carried live from aapproximately 6AM- 7:15AM on 11 networks. In the United States, the sum of the average audience for those networks was 22,766,469 viewers. The networks carrying live coverage included ABC, CBS, NBC, TEL, UNI, BBCA, CNN, E!, FOXNC, MSNBC, TLC.
U.S. Viewership for Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton
April 29, 2011
Networks Number of Households Number of Total Viewers ABC, CBS, NBC, TEL, UNI, BBCA,
CNN, E!, FOXNC, MSNBC, TLC
18,582,493 22,766,469 Source: The Nielsen Company
Viewership for Previous Royal Weddings # of Networks Households Number of Viewers Wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer
3 14,200,000 N/A Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles
3 3,261,000 3,650,000
*Full coverage of the Royal Wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles was carried live on three networks – CNN, FOX News Channel and MSNBC. Partial coverage of the Royal Wedding also aired on WE and BBCA several times throughout the day but are not included in the sum of sources.