[Fox News] Princess Diana’s wedding to OJ Simpson’s trial: 10 of the most televised events in US history

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Television has been a powerful medium to unite and captivate the American public, offering a front-row seat to some of the most significant moments in history. 

From groundbreaking achievements to heartbreaking tragedies, these televised events have left an indelible mark on the collective memory of the nation.

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY, JULY 29, 1981, PRINCE CHARLES AND LADY DIANA SPENCER MARRY IN LAVISH CEREMONY

The royal wedding of Lady Diana Spencer and Prince Charles on July 29, 1981, transcended the boundaries of tradition, capturing the hearts of 750 million viewers worldwide. 

This iconic event not only symbolized the union of two individuals but also became a cultural phenomenon, influencing fashion, inspiring countless fairy-tale narratives, and leaving an indelible mark on the collective memory of those who witnessed it. 

The grand ceremony and the global fascination with the royal couple solidified this moment as a timeless and significant piece of history.

APOLLO 11: 50 YEARS ON, THE WORLD CELEBRATES THE MOON LANDING

The historic Apollo 11 mission, led by astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, marked humanity’s first steps on the moon on July 20, 1969. 

As an estimated 650 million people watched, Armstrong proclaimed, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” as reported by The National Air and Space Museum. 

This groundbreaking event, broadcast live to millions, not only showcased the prowess of space exploration but also ignited a sense of wonder and inspiration that continues to resonate across generations.

WHAT IS OJ SIMPSON UP TO NOW?

The verdict in the O.J. Simpson trial, where the former football star was acquitted of murder charges on Oct. 3, 1995, became a cultural touchstone. 

“Despite the fact that the event took place at 10:00 AM PST on a Tuesday, a record number of people tuned in to see the jury’s decision. Adults abandoned their work and students left their classrooms as 150 million viewers – 57% of the country – gathered around TV screens,” according to Vanity Fair.

The live broadcast of the trial and its subsequent conclusion highlighted the intersection of celebrity, race and the legal system.

Super Bowl LVIII, hosted at Allegiant Stadium, in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Feb. 11, 2024, was the most-watched program in Super Bowl history, averaging 123.4 million viewers across all platforms, up +7% versus last year’s Super Bowl, which was the previous record at 115.1 million, according to NFL Football Operations. 

Super Bowl LVIII was between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers and many celebrities were in Vegas for the main event. 

Taylor Swift, in particular, was a widely televised celebrity throughout the NFL season. Early in the fall, the A-list star started appearing at Chiefs games to watch her boyfriend, Travis Kelce, play. She was in attendance at Super Bowl LVIII alongside pals Blake Lively and Ice Spice.

The Chiefs became just the fourth team in NFL history to win three Super Bowls in a five-year stretch, according to the NFL. 

Usher headlined the halftime show, along with special guests Alicia Keys, H.E.R., will.i.am, Ludacris, Lil Jon and more. 

SUPER BOWL HALFTIME SHOWS THROUGHOUT HISTORY, FROM MADONNA TO THE ROLLING STONES

The Super Bowl halftime show is also a major televised spectacle. With 121 million viewers, Rihanna’s 2023 performance during Super Bowl LVII is the most-watched halftime show in history.

Memorable performances, controversial moments and star-studded lineups have made these shows annual pop culture phenomena, attracting millions of viewers.

Americans witnessed the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, where nearly 3,000 lives were lost in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Shanksville, Pennsylvania, due to terrorist attacks.

Television became a conduit for shared anguish and resilience as the nation grappled with the unprecedented events unfolding before their eyes.

At the end of the night on Sept. 11, 2001, Nielsen estimated that at least 80 million Americans watched the evening news, while an estimate by the University of Georgia held that about two billion people either watched the attacks in real time or through the news.

BEATLES LEGEND JOHN LENNON ASSASSINATED 43 YEARS AGO: WHAT TO KNOW

The Beatles’ appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” on Feb. 9, 1964, marked a cultural watershed moment, drawing an unprecedented television audience. 

The “British Invasion” was underway, and this televised event played a pivotal role in shaping the trajectory of popular music.

“The performance drew an astonishing 73 million viewers to ‘The Ed Sullivan Show,’ making it the most-watched television event of its time,” according to the Ed Sullivan website.

The shocking assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas, unfolded on live television, forever altering the way Americans consumed news. 

According to data collected from Pew Research Center, “47.2% of U.S. television homes had their sets on at 12:30 p.m on Nov. 24, 1963, moments after Jack Ruby shot and killed Lee Harvey Oswald on live TV as he was walking through the basement of Dallas Police Headquarters.”   

The poignant images and coverage became etched in the nation’s consciousness, sparking a collective sense of grief and loss.

JFK ASSASSINATION: 60 YEARS LATER WE KNOW THE TRUTH ABOUT THE REAL KILLER

Presidential debates have consistently drawn massive television audiences, offering citizens the chance to witness candidates discuss crucial issues. 

These televised debates play a pivotal role in shaping public opinion and influencing electoral outcomes.

“The first-ever televised debate between presidential candidates was held on Sept. 26, 1960. An estimated total of sixty to seventy million viewers watched the first and the successive debates, which came to be known as ‘the Great Debates,'” according to data collected from The Library of Congress. 

‘FRIENDS’, ‘SEINFELD’ AND OTHER TV SHOWS UNFIT FOR TODAY’S WOKE CULTURE

The funeral service for Queen Elizabeth II, who died Sept. 8, 2022, after 70 years on the throne, took place on Sept, 19, 2022, in London’s Westminster Abbey and was broadcast around the world.

“Roughly 11.4 million people in the United States watched the funeral of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth, the first time TV cameras were allowed at the funeral of a British monarch,” reported by the Nielsen ratings agency said.

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