Ratings are in for Tuesday’s conviction of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, and CNN led the way, beating broadcast and cable competitors for the highest number of eyeballs on the screen between 4:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. ET.
In that time slot, CNN pulled in an average of just over 4 million viewers, of whom 1.459 million were in the advertiser-coveted age demographic of 25 to 54, according to early Nielsen Media Research Ratings Data.
In second place in both categories was ABC News, which also topped 4 million total average viewers but took in slightly fewer than CNN. In the key demo, ABC News nabbed 980,000 viewers on average. Fox News came next with 3.442 million total average viewers, with 742,000 of them in the key demo. MSNBC commanded 3.066 million total average viewers for a fourth-place finish, but was fifth place in the demo — the cable channel took in 562,000 average viewers, falling behind CBS News, which had a demo total of 682,000. In total average viewers, CBS News fell behind MSNBC, drawing 3.017 million viewers.
CNN’s sister network HLN, known for a focus on local stories and true crime, pulled in an average of 825,000 total viewers, of whom 309,000 were in the demo.
In primetime, when viewers turned to the cable networks for opinions and reactions to the verdict, which came after three weeks of testimony and one day of jury deliberation, Fox News led the way in total viewers. MSNBC took second place while CNN fell to third place in total viewers but stayed in the lead in the demo. All told, Fox News took in 2.683 million total average viewers from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET. Of those, 526,000 were in the key demo. MSNBC nabbed 2.119 million total average viewers with 377,000 in the demo. CNN brought in a total of 1.786 million average viewers in primetime, with 638,000 of them between the ages of 25 and 54.
Around 3:30 p.m. ET Tuesday, the networks announced that the jury in Chauvin’s trial had reached a verdict, which would be read between 4:30 and 5 p.m. Special coverage continued on the networks until just after 5 p.m., when Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for his role in the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man whose killing last summer ignited protests and national conversation around police brutality and systemic racism.