Two million viewers tuned in to watch Match Of The Day (MOTD) live after Gary Lineker’s return to the BBC, the corporation said.
Coverage of the FA Cup quarter-final on Saturday, which was hosted by the 62-year-old presenter, averaged 2.1 million viewers based on overnight figures.
Lineker was returning to BBC screens for the first time since a presenter boycotted the corporation’s football coverage, prompted by a call for the pundit to step back from MOTD during a dispute over impartiality.
The return to scheduled programming saw 400,000 fewer people watching yesterday’s game than tuned into last week’s late-night MOTD slot, when only 20 minutes of footage aired, with no commentary, pundits or viewership.
It comes after Lineker thanked fans for their support after he was temporarily taken off the air for a tweet in which he compared the language used by the government to talk about refugees and migrants to that used in Nazi Germany from the 1930s.
Gary Lineker returned to television screens on BBC One on Saturday for MOTD Live
He told fellow English footballers-turned-experts Alan Shearer (centre) and Micah Richards (right) that it was “great to be here.”
Full-time staff members have to subscribe to a strict social media code to remain impartial, but the dispute turned into chaos after other presenters refused to continue scheduled programming in solidarity.
The dispute ended when the BBC ended talks with Lineker and confirmed in a statement that it is now re-examining its social media policies for freelancers.
A peak audience of 2.8 million people watched MOTD Live, which featured analysis from experts Alan Shearer and Micah Richards.
The replacement MOTD while Lineker was off the air had an average viewership of 2.6 million last Saturday when it aired for just 20 minutes, featuring no hosts or its famous tune, instead airing only brief highlight clips of the MOTD matches. day.
A total of 2.1 million viewers tuned in on Saturday, March 4, before Lineker was asked to resign, according to overnight figures.
Manchester City beat Burnley 6-0 as the show aired on BBC One from 5:25pm to 7:55pm
Coverage aired at a similar time slot to the Six Nations Championship on ITV1 from 4:30pm to 7:15pm
According to ITV, an average of 4.3 million people watched Ireland beat England to clinch the Grand Slam victory with a 29-16 win.
Viewership also peaked at 5.3 million viewers, according to overnight figures.
Later in the evening, the football highlights show MOTD at 22:30, presented by Mark Chapman on BBC One, averaged two million viewers in its 75 minutes on air with a peak of 2.5 million, according to the BBC.
Lineker posted a selfie on Twitter for her fans to celebrate her return to the show.
On Sunday, BBC Sport announced that Lineker will not host coverage of the FA Cup quarter-final between Brighton & Hove Albion and Grimsby Town after the former England striker’s voice has “deteriorated overnight.” tomorrow”.
Instead, former England player and presenter Alex Scott will host MOTD Live on BBC One from 1:50pm
In a statement, the corporation said: “Due to illness we have a line-up change for today’s live FA Cup coverage of Brighton v Grimsby on BBC One.”
“As viewers may have noticed yesterday, Gary Lineker was struggling with his voice and unfortunately it deteriorated overnight.
Alex Scott will host in his place.
Following the announcement, Lineker tweeted: “I’ve been silenced…literally by a nasty cold so upset I won’t be working @OfficialBHAFC this afternoon.”
When he returned to the air on Saturday, he had told fellow English footballers-turned-experts Alan Shearer and Micah Richards that it was “great to be here.”
He also posted a photo of himself at Manchester’s Etihad Stadium, telling his Twitter followers: “Ah, the joy of still being able to play football.”
On Monday, Davie said in a statement that the corporation has commissioned an independent review of its social media guidelines, particularly for freelancers.
He also apologized for what he acknowledged had been a “difficult period” after BBC Sport staff and commentators walked out in support of Lineker, with featured shows significantly shorter than usual and broadcast without introduction or commentary at the end. from last week.