Kavanaugh Hearing Drew 20.4 Million Viewers to Six Big Networks
(Bloomberg) -- A nation riveted by the Brett Kavanaugh/Christine Blasey Ford hearings on Thursday translated into big audiences for broadcast and cable TV networks.
Six major networks providing coverage of the hearings attracted a total of 20.4 million viewers, according to Nielsen. The viewership spanned ABC, CBS and NBC, and three 24-hour news channels: Fox News, MSNBC and CNN.
Thursday’s hearing by the Senate Judiciary Committee was a major national event, with broadcast and cable offering gavel-to-gavel coverage. In the morning, viewers took in the emotional testimony of Ford, who accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her at a party when both were teens. The afternoon session featured the Supreme Court nominee’s fiery rebuttal.
Fox News said it dominated coverage of the latest hearings, with 5.7 million daytime viewers -- compared with 2.9 million for MSNBC and 2.5 million at CNN. MSNBC said separately that its coverage produced the network’s biggest ever daytime audience.
The hearing also delivered higher prime-time viewing for the 24-hour news channels, with Fox News reporting an audience of 5.5 million. MSNBC drew an estimated 3.18 million, while CNN attracted 1.9 million. Earlier, Fox reported the three networks saw a combined 77 percent increase in their 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. audiences, based on preliminary data.
The Fox network also had its first broadcast of “Thursday Night Football.” It generated an 8 percent ratings increase from a year earlier, when it was on CBS, according to the company.
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