CNN’s town hall with Donald Trump beat the cable news competition, as expected, with an average of 3.12 million viewers, according to early Nielsen numbers.
Fox News averaged 1.41 million viewers in the 8 p.m. to 9:15 p.m. ET time frame, while MSNBC posted 1.37 million.
In the 25-54 demo, CNN averaged 703,028, while MSNBC posted 154,991 and Fox News averaged 125,266.
On Fox News, the town hall competed against Fox News Tonight, hosted by Kayleigh McEnany this week, and the first part of Hannity. On MSNBC, the town hall’s competition was All in with Chris Hayes, with Rachel Maddow as his guest, and the first part of Alex Wagner Tonight.
CNN's Chris Licht Defends Donald Trump Town Hall: "I Absolutely, Unequivocally Believe America Was Served Very Well By What We Did Last Night"
CNN is on track to win the evening. It averaged 2.2 million viewers in primetime, compared to 1.65 million for Fox News and 1.43 million for MSNBC. In the 25-54 demo, CNN averaged 472,000, compared to Fox News with 179,000 and MSNBC with 151,000.
CNN said that combined TV and live streaming brought the town hall viewership number to 3.22 million.
CNN drew criticism for giving Trump a platform to spew misinformation during the 70-minute event, but the network’s CEO Chris Licht defended their decision to stage it, noting that it broke news and that Trump was faced with moderator Kaitlan Collins questioning in a way he has not been recently.
Fox News noted that six of its town halls with Trump drew larger audiences, including a 2020 event with Sean Hannity that garnered 5.1 million viewers.
CNN’s event scored much better than other town halls this cycle, including those with former Vice President Mike Pence and Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin. The network said that the Trump town hall ranked second behind all of CNN’s single candidate town halls since 2016, with a September, 2020 event with Joe Biden drawing 3.47 million viewers.
The figures are from Nielsen via CNN and Fox News.
More to come.
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