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Apollo 11 moon landing remains one of the most watched TV moments

The Apollo 11 moon landing held the record for TV viewership for more than a decade.

Fifty years after Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins became etched in history, the Apollo 11 mission remains an iconic moment in broadcasting. 

It's estimated that between 600-650 million people tuned in around the world to Armstrong and Aldrin's broadcast from the lunar surface on July 20, 1969. People in parts of Europe watched, despite the fact that it was the middle of the night there. It broke the record for the largest television audience in history at the time. It held that viewership record until the wedding of Lady Diana and Prince Charles in 1981. 

The moon landing remains one of the most watched television broadcasts of all time. 

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Here are more of the most watched television broadcasts in history:

1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony

In a nod to history, Olympic decathlon champion Rafer Johnson, who was the last person to carry the torch on its international journey to the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, lights the torch from the Olympic flame after its arrival at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles Saturday morning, April 27, 1996. Johnson is the first torchbearer during its 15,000-mile trip to the opening ceremonies in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

The opening ceremony in Atlanta had an audience of 3.5 billion worldwide. It was the first time in Olympic history that all 197 recognized National Olympic committees were represented in the Games. Boxing legend Muhammad Ali lit the torch. The games were marked by tragedy that year when a bomb exploded in Centennial Olympic Park, killing two people and injuring 110 more. 

Muhammad Ali's boxing matches

Aging challenger Muhammad Ali, left, is shown being pummeled against the ropes by WBC heavyweight champion Larry Holmes during their Las Vegas, Nevada fight of October 2, 1980. Holmes scored an uneventful eleventh round technical knockout over Ali to retain his WBC heavyweight title. (AP Photo/stf)

Many of the legendary boxer's fights earned high viewership. His fight against George Foreman, dubbed the "Rumble in the Jungle," brought in 1 billion viewers, as did his fights with Joe Frazier III and Antonio Inoki. Two billion people watched him defeat Leon Spinks II on Sept. 27, 1978. 

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2008 Beijing Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony

More than 2 billion people, or almost one third of the world's population, watched the opening ceremony of the summer Olympics in Beijing. Sixty-five million people in the U.S. watched. People tuned in for good reason: The performance was a spectacle that featured almost 15,000 performers and cost more than $100 million, according to estimates. Beijing will host the winter Olympics in 2022. 

Elvis Presley's "Aloha from Hawaii" concert

Elvis Presley made history on Jan. 14, 1973, when he became the first solo artist to have a special broadcast live around the world. It's estimated that more than a billion tuned in to watch. 

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Michael Jackson's Memorial Service

Janet Jackson, left, La Toya Jackson, center, with Michael Jackson's children Paris Jackson, lower left, Prince Michael Jackson II and Prince Michael Jackson during the memorial service for Michael Jackson at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Tuesday, July 7, 2009. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, Pool)

It's estimated that 20,000 people attended the memorial service for Michael Jackson on July 7, 2009. Around 1.6 million people applied for free tickets to the event at the Staples Center, and its estimated that around 500 million people around the world tuned it. According to Nielsen ratings, its estimated that 31 million people in the United States alone watched the service, making it the second most watched funeral after Princess Diana's.

CCTV's Spring Festival Gala

China Central Television celebrates the Lunar New Year with a Spring Festival Gala every year. In 2012, its broadcast broke a Guinness World Record for most-watched variety show in the world. The program earned around 498 million viewers, primarily from China. 

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President John F. Kennedy's Funeral

John F. Kennedy's funeral was broadcast on November 25, 1963, three days after his assassination. It's estimated that 180 million people tuned in to mourn the president's passing. More than 250,000 people lined up at the U.S. Capitol to pay their respects. 

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