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Virgin Galactic’s Space Odyssey Helps Cable Ratings Take Off

Douglas Pucci

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One of the notable news stories of the past week was when Virgin Galactic launched founder Richard Branson, chief astronaut instructor Beth Moses, lead operations engineer Colin Bennett and government affairs vice president Sirisha Bandla into space in a suborbital spaceflight aboard the aerospace company’s VSS Unity spacecraft on the morning of Sunday, July 11. 

The one-hour space trip launched from Spaceport America in New Mexico at 10:51 a.m. ET and had traveled more than 50 miles above Earth, which the U.S. government considers to mark the boundary of outer space.

Branson proclaimed, “To the next generation of dreamers: If we can do this, just imagine what you can do.”

For coverage of the event, Fox News Channel edged just past CNN in total viewers during the 11 a.m.-noon hour, 1.479 million to 1.444 million (CNN’s most-watched hour of the week), according to Nielsen Media Research; it was vice versa between the two networks based on the key adults 25-54 demographic: CNN 275,000, Fox News 227,000. MSNBC trailed both cable news outlets with 1.116 million total viewers and 189,000 adults 25-54 — yet, this delivery was well above the network’s usual weekend figures.

Later on July 11, CNN debuted the first two episodes of its eight-part documentary series “History of the Sitcom”. Their initial telecasts topped all of cable news within the 9-11 p.m. time slot:

9-10 p.m.

  • History Of The Sitcom “Part 1: A Family Matter” (CNN) 1.399 million viewers
  • The Next Revolution (FOXNC) 1.279 million viewers
  • The Week with Joshua Johnson (MSNBC) 0.470 million viewers

At 10 p.m., part two of “History Of The Sitcom”, entitled “Sex & The Sitcom”, drew 1.257 million viewers. It aired opposite re-airings of Fox News’ “Sunday Night In America” (947,000) and MSNBC’s “American Voices” (405,000).

Also on July 11: HLN’s crime docuseries “Forensic Files II” premiered its second season with back-to-back original episodes. The 10-11 p.m. hour averaged 176,000 adults 25-54, besting the entire Sunday prime times of each Fox News Channel (150,000) and MSNBC (approximately 60,000).

Here are the cable news averages for July 5-11, 2021 — cable’s best mark for the week in total viewers based on total day was by Fox News Channel; the 21st consecutive week FNC has accomplished this feat.

Total Day (July 5-11 @ 6 a.m.-5:59 a.m.)

  • Fox News Channel: 1.175 million viewers; 193,000 adults 25-54 
  • MSNBC: 0.752 million viewers; 100,000 adults 25-54
  • CNN: 0.598 million viewers; 125,000 adults 25-54

Prime Time (July 5-10 @ 8-11 p.m.; July 11 @ 7-11 p.m.)

  • Fox News Channel: 2.046 million viewers; 309,000 adults 25-54
  • MSNBC: 1.266 million viewers; 156,000 adults 25-54
  • CNN: 0.833 million viewers; 184,000 adults 25-54

Top 10 most-watched cable news programs (and the top CNN program with their respective associated rank) in total viewers:

1. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Thu. 7/8/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.229 million viewers

2. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Tue. 7/6/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.153 million viewers

3. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Wed. 7/7/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.083 million viewers

4. Hannity (FOXNC, Thu. 7/8/2021 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.770 million viewers

5. Hannity (FOXNC, Wed. 7/7/2021 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.767 million viewers

6. The Five (FOXNC, Thu. 7/8/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.622 million viewers

7. Hannity (FOXNC, Tue. 7/6/2021 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.564 million viewers

8. The Five (FOXNC, Wed. 7/7/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.528 million viewers

9. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Fri. 7/9/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.508 million viewers

10. The Five (FOXNC, Tue. 7/6/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.473 million viewers

11. Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC, Wed. 7/7/2021 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.371 million viewers

47. Reliable Sources (CNN, Sun. 7/11/2021 11:00 AM, 60 min.) 1.444 million viewers

54. History Of The Sitcom “A Family Matter” (CNN, Sun. 7/11/2021 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 1.399 million viewers

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

1. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Wed. 7/7/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.550 million adults 25-54

2. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Thu. 7/8/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.518 million adults 25-54

3. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Tue. 7/6/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.511 million adults 25-54

4. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Fri. 7/9/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.492 million adults 25-54

5. Hannity (FOXNC, Wed. 7/7/2021 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.418 million adults 25-54

6. Hannity (FOXNC, Thu. 7/8/2021 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.416 million adults 25-54

7. The Five (FOXNC, Thu. 7/8/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.389 million adults 25-54

8. Hannity (FOXNC, Fri. 7/9/2021 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.353 million adults 25-54

9. Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC, Wed. 7/7/2021 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.349 million adults 25-54

10. The Five (FOXNC, Wed. 7/7/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.347 million adults 25-54

29. Anderson Cooper 360 (CNN, Tue. 7/6/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.284 million adults 25-54

124. Forensic Files II “The Obsession” (HLN, Sun. 7/11/2021 10:00 PM, 30 min.) 0.182 million adults 25-54

Source: Live+Same Day data, Nielsen Media Research

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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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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