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FOX News Sets Record for Election Night Viewership, Plus Weekly Cable News Ratings

Univision won the prime time total viewer battle of the Spanish-language networks over Telemundo from 8-11 p.m. ET, 1.95 million to 1.53 million.

Douglas Pucci

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Coverage of the 2020 U.S. elections on Tuesday, Nov. 3 were approximately down 20 percent down in total viewership from four years ago (-57 million on Nov. 3, 2020 vs. 71.4 million on Nov. 8, 2016). But cable news showed its prominence in the TV landscape, as for the first time ever, each of the three major cable news stations outdrew any broadcast network in prime time election coverage among total viewers. Fox News Channel set a new cable record for election coverage with a prime time average of 14.09 million viewers, beating the previous all-time mark of 13.3 million by CNN in 2016. This year, CNN averaged 9.41 million while MSNBC drew 7.63 million. Mimicking recent debate ratings performances, ABC led the broadcast networks. They averaged 6.29 million, followed by NBC (5.79 million), CBS (4.48 million) and the Fox broadcast network (3 million).

Univision won the prime time total viewer battle of the Spanish-language networks over Telemundo from 8-11 p.m. ET, 1.95 million to 1.53 million.

The still-unconfirmed results of the Biden-Trump presidential race continued to push the three cable news stations way above their usual averages. CNN had its second biggest total-day viewer average in its 40-year history with 4.53 million viewers on Wednesday, Nov. 4 from 3 a.m. to 2:59 a.m. ET (this figure is preliminary since it has yet to factor out-of-home viewing; CNN’s largest-ever day occurred on Election Day of Nov. 8, 2016). From 8-11 p.m. on Nov. 4, CNN (7.38 million) was the most-watched network (in addition to leading the key 25-54 and 18-34 demos) followed by the Fox News Channel (6.51 million). The Fox broadcast network, the usual Wednesday night winner thanks to “The Masked Singer” and “I Can See Your Voice”, remained potent as it averaged 5.49 million, although that ranked third; MSNBC (4.97 million) was a close fourth.

NFL still reigned supreme on Thursday, Nov. 5 as the Fox broadcast network (12.72 million viewers for Packers-49ers from 8-11 p.m. ET) ruled all, but then cable news took the next three ranking spots: CNN as runner-up (6.61 million), Fox News in third (5.72 million), MSNBC fourth (5.07 million).

In the morning, Fox News was still the dominant cable outlet. From 6-9 a.m. ET, “Fox & Friends” averaged 4.64 million viewers on Nov. 4 and 2.49 million on Nov. 5.

As for the other morning cable news offerings:

  • CNN “Election Night in America” (Nov. 4 @ 6-9 a.m. ET): 2.91 million viewers
  • CNN “Election Night in America” (Nov. 5 @ 6-9 a.m. ET): 2.16 million viewers
  • MSNBC “Morning Joe” (Nov. 4 @ 6-9 a.m. ET): 2.40 million viewers
  • MSNBC “Morning Joe” (Nov. 5 @ 6-9 a.m. ET): 1.92 million viewers

From last week, Fox News Channel was tops among the cable networks in both viewers and adults 25-54 yet again; it even showed slight growth in total audience a week after the final Biden-Trump presidential debate. For the week ending Nov. 1, 2020 in total day data (from 6 a.m. to 5:59 a.m. each day), Fox News Channel averaged 2.44 million viewers and 463,000 adults 25-54.

As for the other news networks:

  • MSNBC: 1.39 million viewers, 224,000 adults 25-54
  • CNN: 1.25 million viewers, 314,000 adults 25-54

Top 10 most-watched cable news programs (and the top MSNBC and CNN programs with associated ranks) in total viewers:

1. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Tue. 10/27/2020 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 7.562 million viewers

2. Hannity (FOXNC, Mon. 10/26/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 7.304 million viewers

3. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Mon. 10/26/2020 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 6.765 million viewers

4. Hannity (FOXNC, Tue. 10/27/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 6.403 million viewers

5. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Wed. 10/28/2020 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 6.315 million viewers

6. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Thu. 10/29/2020 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 6.129 million viewers

7. Hannity (FOXNC, Wed. 10/28/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 5.820 million viewers

8. Hannity (FOXNC, Thu. 10/29/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 5.376 million viewers

9. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Fri. 10/30/2020 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 5.310 million viewers

10. Hannity (FOXNC, Fri. 10/30/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 4.988 million viewers

24. Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC, Wed. 10/28/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.823 million viewers

44. Cuomo Prime Time (CNN, Wed. 10/28/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.004 million viewers

Top 10 cable news programs (and the top MSNBC and CNN programs with associated ranks) among adults 25-54:

1. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Tue. 10/27/2020 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 1.540 million adults 25-54

2. Hannity (FOXNC, Mon. 10/26/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 1.403 million adults 25-54

3. Hannity (FOXNC, Tue. 10/27/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 1.290 million adults 25-54

4. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Mon. 10/26/2020 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 1.276 million adults 25-54

5. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Wed. 10/28/2020 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 1.245 million adults 25-54

6. Hannity (FOXNC, Wed. 10/28/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 1.212 million adults 25-54

7. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Thu. 10/29/2020 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 1.101 million adults 25-54

8. Hannity (FOXNC, Thu. 10/29/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.978 million adults 25-54

9. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Fri. 10/30/2020 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.975 million adults 25-54

10. The Ingraham Angle (FOXNC, Wed. 10/28/2020 10:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.945 million adults 25-54

25. Cuomo Prime Time (CNN, Wed. 10/28/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.691 million adults 25-54

30. Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC, Wed. 10/28/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.652 million adults 25-54

News Television

Jessica Tarlov, Leo Terrell Clash Over Roe v. Wade Ruling

It didn’t take long for news outlets to begin sparring on the issue, and one of the more animated ones occurred on Fox News.

Eduardo Razo

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On Friday, the Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade, which now hands over the determination of abortion legality to individual states. 

It didn’t take long for news outlets to begin sparring on the issue, and one of the more animated ones occurred on Fox News. Contributors Leo Terrell and Jessica Tarlov disputed multiple times on the topic following the ruling. 

Tarlov, a Democratic strategist and co-host of The Five, said that this decision would have dire consequences, something that made Terrell shake his head and interrupt multiple times.

“Alito made it clear that he didn’t think this it would expand to contraception and same-sex marriage, but [Clarence] Thomas said he thought they should be reevaluated, and when you consider the fact that Justices [Brett] Kavanaugh and [Neil] Gorsuch lied to the senators that they met with —” Tarlov said, per Mediaite

“They followed the law. You may not like the law, but we are a nation of laws. That’s what they did. What they basically said was if you don’t like the ruling, you go to the states,” Terrell fired back.

Tarlov and Terrell continued clashing in another segment while discussing the potential consequences. 

She said “every man that takes part in conceiving a child” should be on the hook for child support, leading to Terrell shaking his head while muttering, “oh God.”

“Stop saying, ‘Oh God!’” Tarlov said. 

“I can’t believe you’re using this quality time to push a democratic agenda. Go ahead. I’ll be quiet. Go ahead. Keep talking. It’s ridiculous,” Terrell snapped.

“I’m sorry. Were you pregnant recently?” Tarlov stated.

“Every time I come on this show, I’m attacked,” Terrell mumbled.

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News Television

Kim Godwin: “Newscasts at Some Point Will Be Totally Streamed”

Godwin sat down with Recode host and Vox journalist Peter Kafka at the Collison Conference in Toronto.

Eduardo Razo

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ABC News president Kim Godwin has been in her position for more than a year and she recently sat down with Recode host and Vox journalist Peter Kafka at the Collison Conference in Toronto, where they discussed the future of news media. 

With streaming both on the audio and visual side, becoming more of a player for news and how they reach the younger audience, Godwin says that getting to the demographic is via a digital strategy. 

“The price of admission is that digital strategy. That push alert – getting to people early,” said Godwin, per TV Newser. “And then we have people who really are in tune with the way people are consuming news.”

“You really have to niche it out. You can’t put a TikTok on Facebook…. You have to approach it with a multi-faceted and multi-pronged approach and try to get there first.”

Furthermore, Godwin wants the network to lean on their brand on various platforms that are skewered to the young generation, like TikTok. 

“ABC News is a strong news brand in America. So we are leveraging that brand on TikTok. [ABC News foreign correspondent] Ian Pannell who is covering the war in Ukraine right from the frontlines,” Godwin said.

“In addition to the reports he’s sending back for World News Tonight and Good Morning America, he’s doing TikToks. And they’re interesting, different and customized for that audience. As journalists, we are looking at our coverage in a different way.”

Godwin was then asked how she plans to get the younger crowd to turn on ABC News, where they make their money, but she says news could be heading toward being streamed rather than having the more youth turn on ABC. 

“I think there is going to be a business for us there one day (on TikTok),” said Godwin. “That’s where all the bridges are leading. Everything is getting smaller on linear, but maybe the newscasts at some point will be totally streamed, like ABC News Live,” Godwin concluded. 

“Maybe that’s where World News Tonight and GMA will eventually be. I really think we are headed that way, all the numbers show that… Maybe they meet in the middle somewhere eventually.”

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News Television

Dan Abrams: Someone in Donald Trump’s Inner Circle Could See Charges

“For the first time, I think there’s a real possibility a member of Donald Trump’s inner circle could face criminal charges related to Jan. 6,” Abrams said on Thursday’s edition of “Dan Abrams Live.”

Eduardo Razo

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The hearings into the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol remain ongoing, and following the raid on former Trump Department of Justice official Jeffrey Clark this week, anchor Dan Abrams has a bold belief. 

Abrams, the founder of Mediaite and anchor on NewsNation, considers that for the first time, someone from former President Donald Trump’s inner circle could see criminal charges.

“For the first time, I think there’s a real possibility a member of Donald Trump’s inner circle could face criminal charges related to Jan. 6,” Abrams said on Thursday’s edition of “Dan Abrams Live.”

“It’s generally seemed to me that the criminal inquiry into Trump and his inner circle in connection with Jan. 6 wasn’t going anywhere. I’m talking about what I actually think is happening, that’s all.”

Abrams stated the latest hearing and the Wednesday raid on Clark are what altered his view on whether anyone could end up seeing charges.

“What we learned today changed my analysis. That’s because federal investigators just raided the home of former trump department of justice lawyer Jeffrey Clark,” Abrams added. 

“He was the guy heading the justice department’s environmental division who Donald Trump tried to put in as acting attorney general could see was apparently the only one within the DOJ willing to support the effort to overturn the 2020 election.”

Finally, Abrams conveyed that the raid’s timing before the hearing could examine Clark’s role could lead to something significant when facing jail time.  

“To get authorization to raid his home now, the day before the Jan. 6 committee held a hearing examining Jeffrey Clark’s role in trying to overturn the election, suggest to me that they believe they suddenly could have something big,” Abrams concluded. 

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