Fox News Beats CNN, MSNBC in Ratings for Biden Primetime Address

Biden gave his first primetime address on Thursday, talking about the coronavirus pandemic

President Biden Delivers Primetime Address To Nation On Next Phase Of Pandemic
Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

Fox News had the highest ratings in cable news for President Joe Biden’s Thursday night primetime address, according to Nielsen Media Research ratings data.

From 8 to 8:30 p.m. ET, while the president spoke to the nation about the coronavirus pandemic, Fox News pulled in an average of 4 million viewers — 613,000 of whom were in the advertiser-coveted age demographic of 25 to 54.

CNN was in third place overall with 2.729 million total average viewers, but came in first in the demo with 667,000. MSNBC had the second-highest total average viewers during the half hour, 2.982 million, but was in distant third place in the demo with only 395,000.

From 8 to 9 p.m. ET, the full hour in which Biden’s speech took place, Fox News brought in 4.081 million total viewers, on average, with 670,000 of those being in the demo. (The top-rated “Tucker Carlson Tonight” typically runs in that hour.) CNN, which usually runs “Anderson Cooper 360,” brought in 2.588 million total average viewers and 650,000 in the demo for the hour. On MSNBC, where viewers usually catch “All In With Chris Hayes,” 2.865 million total viewers tuned in, of whom only 389,000 were in the demo.

During Biden’s speech, Fox News’ chyrons assuring viewers it would soon be over and that Carlson would be momentarily reacting gained viral notoriety on Twitter, as did an inlaid graphic of Carlson reacting in real time to the speech.

Biden used his time to address the vaccine rollout, condemn hate crimes against Asian Americans, urge the wearing of masks and assure the nation that at the rate vaccines are being given, gatherings could happen by the Fourth of July.


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