Joe Biden scored another win over Donald Trump on Wednesday — snagging 30% more viewers to his televised inauguration, according to early Nielsen Media Research data.
Wednesday’s swearing in drew an audience of 39.87 million people, a big jump from the 30.6 million viewers who watched Trump’s inauguration in 2017.
Among the cable news networks, CNN beat out Fox News and MSNBC in both total viewers and viewers in the key age demographic of 25 to 54.
In total, according to early Nielsen data, CNN brought in an average of 7.737 million total viewers from 11 a.m. ET to 4 p.m. ET, of whom 2.710 million were in the advertiser-coveted demo.
MSNBC brought in 5.326 million total average viewers with 1.251 million, on average, in the demo while Fox News saw 2.166 million, with 444,000 between 25 and 54.
During the primetime celebration, from 8:30 p.m. ET to 10 p.m. ET, CNN had 6.677 million total average viewers, of whom 2.371 million were in the demo. MSNBC was next with 4.413 million total average viewers and 1.208 million demo viewers. Fox News was in third place among the cable news networks, pulling in 3.044 million total viewers, on average, and 561,000 demo viewers, on average.
The event was a big draw for cable news viewers in spite of the notable absence of outgoing president Donald Trump, who became the first president in over 150 years to skip his successor’s inauguration. The event featured performances from Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez and Garth Brooks, as well as appearances by former presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Biden gave an inaugural address, as well.
Since Nov. 4, the day after the 2020 election, CNN has been the top cable network overall. Since the new year, CNN has reigned supreme in total viewers and the demo through dayside programming.
Among the broadcast-TV channels, ABC won during the day and NBC won during the primetime hours, hosted by Tom Hanks. From 11 a.m. ET to 4 p.m. ET, ABC brought in an average of 5.37 million total viewers, NBC saw 4.714 million and CBS averaged 4.133 million. In primetime, NBC was first in total viewers with an average of 3.863 million, according to preliminary numbers. ABC was second in viewers with 3.658 million and CBS had 3.044 million.
CNN, then, won all of television, not just cable news.