President Joe Biden’s first congressional address Wednesday night was a big win for MSNBC, which beat CNN and Fox News in total average viewers, while CNN won the cable ratings war in the advertiser-coveted age demographic of 25 to 54.
From 9 p.m. ET to 10:15 p.m. ET, MSNBC brought in an average of 3.941 million total viewers, of whom 656,000 were in the demo. CNN nabbed 3.180 million, of whom 879,000 were in the demo. Fox News was in third place among the major cable networks, pulling in 2.920 million with 586,000 in the demo.
In total, across cable and broadcast, 22.604 million viewers watched the event from around 9 p.m. to 10:15 p.m., down significantly from when then-president Donald Trump first addressed Congress in March 2017. Trump drew in a little under 48 million viewers.
At 10:30 p.m. ET, Republican Sen. Tim Scott delivered his party’s response to Biden’s address. During his 15-minute speech, Fox News beat CNN and MSNBC in average total viewers, bringing in 3.197 million compared to CNN’s 2.080 million and MSNBC’s 2.725 million. CNN had the most demo viewers, with an average of 623,000. Fox News averaged 547,000 demo viewers while MSNBC got 434,000.
For comparison, Fox News grabbed 10.765 million overall viewers during Trump’s first congressional address in March 2017, which lasted from 9:15 to 10:15 p.m. and was slightly shorter than Biden’s Wednesday evening presentation. CNN averaged a total of 3.944 million at that time and MSNBC brought in an average of 2.683 million viewers.
Biden’s speech laid out his administration’s goals in tackling police reform and launching his American Families Plan. He touched on the American coronavirus response and outlook. The event also made a little history thanks to Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi: For the first time in U.S. history, two women stood behind the president during a joint session of Congress as Vice President and speaker of the House.