President Donald Trump may have hoped to upstage “60 Minutes” with a last-minute televised coronavirus briefing on Sunday night, but the CBS newsmagazine drew a bigger audience.
“60 Minutes,” which included a critical report from Scott Pelley on the pandemic’s impact on the U.S. economy, scored 9.855 total million viewers on Sunday from 7 to 8 p.m. ET — just ahead of the 9.03 million who tuned in for the first hour of Trump’s live press briefing on CNN, MSNBC and Fox News combined, according to Live + Same Day data from Nielsen.
We should note here that comparing broadcast and cable networks’ TV ratings is tricky, since broadcast reaches more people than subscription-based cable. And comparing the numbers put up by a broadcast show like “60 Minutes” to a presidential press conference airing across multiple cable news channels is harder still.
Direct comparisons are also complicated by the fact that Trump’s briefing aired live for roughly two hours beginning at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT, while “60 Minutes” was broadcast from 7-8 p.m. on both the East and West coasts (and at 6 p.m. CT).
But when trying to make the fairest comparison possible by only looking at total viewers, you can see that “60 Minutes” snagged an average audience larger than Trump’s briefing.
Not surprisingly, Trump found his biggest viewership at Fox News, where 4.906 million total viewers tuned in from 7-8 p.m. ET, according to Nielsen. CNN brought in 2.849 million viewers, while MSNBC got 1.285 million.
In the advertiser-coveted news demographic of viewers aged 25 to 54, Fox News also led with 1.132 million viewers, followed by CNN with 906,000, and MSNBC with 212,000.