Wednesday was the first day of televised hearings in the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump. Though Fox News was the early ratings winner among cable news channels, ABC actually topped the key adults 25-54 demographic when looking across all of TV.
Early Nielsen research shows that Fox News averaged 2.9 million total viewers, with 444,000 in the main news demo tuning in from 10 a.m ET to 4 p.m. ET, which is when the hearings were taking place.
MSNBC wasn’t far behind in average viewers, taking second place by bringing in 2.7 million, but was in last place in the 25-54 demo with 364,000. CNN averaged 1.8 million viewers with 427,000 of them in the demo.
Fox News also won in primetime, where nearly 4 million viewers tuned in to hear the evening hosts weigh in on the hearing. Of the 4 million, 635,000 viewers were in the key 25-54 demographic. “Hannity” was the top-rated primetime show with 4.4 million total viewers, 711,000 of whom were in the demo, and “Tucker Carlson Tonight” took a very close second place by bringing in 3,966,000 total viewers, 648,000 of whom were in the demo.
CNN’s primetime coverage brought in 1.3 million viewers with 352,000 in the demo. Of MSNBC’s 2.8 million primetime viewers, 510,000 were between 25 and 54.
Fox News was in second place by one measure: It fell behind ABC in total viewers in the coveted demo from 10 a.m. ET to 4 p.m. ET. ABC had 496,000 viewers in the 25-54 demo compared to Fox’s 444,000. In total viewers, ABC had 2.008 million.
Back on broadcast, CBS had 1.97 million total viewers with 384,000 in the demo and NBC had 1.68 million total viewers with 440,000 in the demo. The coverage ran from 10 a.m. ET to 4 p.m. ET.
For comparison, former special counsel Robert Mueller’s nearly seven-hour testimony in front of Congress garnered Fox News the most viewers, as over 3 million tuned in to watch lawmakers question the prosecutor about his report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Fox News’ average impeachment hearing ratings were down from its Mueller testimony ratings, but MSNBC and CNN were both up: For Mueller, MSNBC got 2.41 million and CNN got 1.52 million.