Fox News Channel far outdrew its broadcast and cable news competition during President Trump’s State of the Union address on Tuesday, topping all broadcast networks and more than doubling the viewership of CNN and MSNBC combined in the process.
FNC coverage, anchored by Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum, averaged a staggering 11.5 million viewers from 9-10:30 p.m. ET while Trump delivered his speech, making it the second most watched State of the Union in all of television in the past 10 years, second only to the 11.7 million who watched Trump on FNC in 2018.
Liberal networks CNN and MSNBC combined for a little over 5 million viewers over the same time period, with CNN averaging 2.8 million and MSNBC averaging 2.2 million.
FNC also topped all broadcast networks, as NBC averaged 4.8 million, CBS averaged 4.7 million and ABC attracted 4.1 million total viewers.
FOX’s broadcast SOTU coverage averaged 3.5 million additional viewers, meaning two different Fox Corp. networks topped both MSNBC and CNN.
FNC was the only network to post viewership gains compared to last year’s State of the Union, gaining two percent while all other television networks were down double digits. Fox News also attracted the largest audience among the key advertising demographic of adults age 25-54, averaging 2.7 million viewers in the category, thumping second-place NBC’s 1.6 million. Both CNN and MSNBC failed to crack the 1 million viewer plateau among the demo.
FNC’s audience largely stuck around for the Democratic response, averaging 7.9 million viewers from 10:30-10:45 p.m. ET while Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer delivered her remarks, topping all broadcast and cable networks.
CNN and MSNBC averaged 2.9 million apiece for the Democratic response, again combining for less than Fox News’ audience.
FNC averaged 9.1 million viewers during its entire primetime lineup from 8-11 p.m. ET, compared to 2.4 million for CNN and 2.2 million for MSNBC.
Fox News recently celebrated its 18th consecutive year as the most-watched cable news network, dating back to January 2002. FNC’s 18-year streak is for both primetime and total day viewers, including the key demo.
Fox News clinched the feat with a dominant January 2020, averaging 1.7 million total day viewers and 2.9 primetime viewers. It was the network’s highest-rated month among total day viewers since February 2017 and among primetime viewers since November 2016.
While Fox News grew 28 percent compared to the previous year among total viewers, liberal cable networks MSNBC and CNN both saw declines. MSNBC averaged 996,000 viewers, down 12 percent from January 2019 and CNN managed only 751,000, an 8 percent drop.
All data is courtesy of early Nielsen Media Research.