TV Ratings: Trump Impeachment First Day Draws 11 Million Viewers

Will Thorne

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The opening day of President Trump’s senate impeachment trial drew a substantial amount if viewers across the three cable news and major networks that broadcast the proceedings.

In total, around 11 million people tuned in to see prosecutors from the House of Representatives and attorneys for the White House argue over exactly how the complicated case should proceed.

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Fox News led the way with 2.65 million viewers (from 12:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.), followed by CBS with 1.94 million in the same time frame. MSNBC came second among the cablers with 1.9 million, with CNN bringing up the rear, drawing 1.44 million. ABC drew 1.63 million viewers with its coverage, while NBC drew almost exactly the same figure as CNN.

NBC was the only major network to cover the trial in the evening (5:18 p.m. to 7:40 p.m.), during which time it received a healthy boost in numbers to 2.8 million, topping Fox News which drew 2.63 million, MSNBC at just under 2 million, and CNN at around 1.5 million.

In terms of the key news demographic of people aged 25-54, Fox News narrowly beat out ABC and CNN for top spot. FN delivered 394,000 to ABC’s 385,000 and CNN’s 383,000. Next came CBS with 362,000, followed by NBC with 350,000 and finally MSNBC with 261,000.

In primetime (8 p.m. to 11 p.m.), Fox News led the way with 3.5 million to MSNBC’s 2.5 million and CNN’s 1.5 million.

The cable news networks outlined their plans for covering the trial, which represents only the third in U.S. history and the first one to take place since President Bill Clinton faced impeachment in 1999, to Variety, with CNN’s Washington Bureau chief pointing out the need to “remain flexible” as the Presidential election gears up at the same time. 

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