17 Million People Tune In for Bruce Jenner Interview

ABC News

It was a landmark moment for trans people in American history -- and a ratings bonanza for ABC.

After months of teases, promos, rumors, and gossip, the Bruce Jenner interview finally aired on 20/20 Friday night. And the media blitz worked: 17 million Americans sat down to hear Bruce Jenner announce that he is, and always has been, a woman.

averages about 6 million viewers per episode, so this was a huge jump for them. It was the top-rated non-sports program among young viewers since the finale of Empire in March, which garnered 17.5 million viewers.

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The show started with 16.4 million viewers, according to Nielsen data, and jumped to 17.2 million by the halfway mark, dipping down to 16.8 million in the last half hour. It marked 20/20's highest ratings for a Friday night program in the past 15 years.

According to CNN, the network anticipated good ratings: Diane Sawyer and her team watched in a conference room at ABC News headquarters along with ABC News president James Goldston.

Nielsen predicts the program will also fare well in DVR and digital viewings in the near future.

On social media, reactions to the Bruce Jenner interview generated nearly a million tweets from more than 400,000 different accounts. It is the most-tweeted-about non-sports Friday night program of all time.

As Jenner has not yet said that a new name or pronouns should be used, ETonline will follow GLAAD guidelines and continue to refer to him by his current name and male pronouns.

Watch the 12 biggest revelations from his interview: