By Brian Flood
Published January 09, 2019
Fox News dominated MSNBC and CNN during coverage of President Trump’s Oval Office address and Democratic response on Tuesday night, according to early Nielsen data.
Fox News averaged 8 million viewers from 9-9:30 p.m. ET, while MSNBC averaged 4.2 million and CNN averaged 3.6 million sets of eyeballs. Among the key demo of adults age 25-54, Fox News averaged 1.8 million, compared to 1.4 million demo viewers for CNN while MSNBC failed to crack the 1 million viewer plateau.
Fox News also had more total viewers than broadcast network ABC, which averaged 5.8 million viewers during Trump’s remarks and the response, which was delivered by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
“Hannity” picked up a whopping 7.1 million total viewers and 1.6 million in the 25-demo, marking it the show’s highest-rated telecast in both categories since its return to the 9 p.m. timeslot in September 2017. MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” averaged 4.3 million viewers during the 9 p.m. hour, while CNN’s “Cuomo Prime Time” finished third with an average of 3.5 million viewers.
The evening was a win for Fox News all around, as the network averaged 4.8 million viewers during the primetime hours of 8-11 p.m., while MSNBC averaged 3.4 million and CNN averaged 2.6 million.
Tuesday’s viewership mirrors the results from 2018, as Fox News finished the year as the most-watched basic cable network for the third consecutive year among both primetime and total day viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research.
Fox News averaged 2.4 million primetime viewers, the highest-rated year since launching 22 years ago. No other basic cable network surpassed the 2 million average viewership plateau, with ESPN averaging 1.9 million primetime viewers to finish second. MSNBC, HGTV and USA rounded out the top five, while CNN averaged only 988,000 primetime viewers to finish eleventh overall.
The president’s primetime address on Tuesday night saw both camps drifting even further apart, with Trump declaring a “humanitarian and security crisis" and vowing to protect America, “so help me God” – and Democratic congressional leaders saying Trump is working to “manufacture a crisis, stoke fear and divert attention from the turmoil in his administration."
Fox News’ Alex Pappas contributed to this report.