Ratings: Trump’s SOTU Down From Obama’s 2010 Debut – and Fox Is to Blame

No lead-in of “American Idol” (in its prime) hurts Fox and POTUS’ overall viewership

Last Updated: January 31, 2018 @ 9:22 AM

The broadcast ratings for President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address couldn’t keep up with Barack Obama’s initial turn back in 2010 — and Republicans can pretty much blame Fox for the falloff.

Though these early Nielsen numbers on NBC, CBS and ABC were similar last night to what they were eight years ago, the Fox broadcast channel experienced a huge drop-off with no “American Idol” (in its prime) as lead-in. As such, the grand total across the Big 4 networks slumped.

It’s very important to note here that the fast-national numbers in this story are not time zone-adjusted, and thus are subject to heavy adjustment. Live events, like a SOTU address, air before primetime even begins on the West Coast — so more math is required to get an accurate snapshot of overall viewership. Final numbers will be available later today.

For now, NBC is atop the primetime podium outright, though “Ellen’s Game of Games” gave the Peacock its edge early — especially in the key 18-49 demographic. In terms of the actual State of the Union address and its response, NBC won in the main demo but CBS currently has a slight edge among overall eyeballs.

NBC was first in ratings with a 1.6 rating/6 share in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demographic and in total viewers with an average of 6.7 million, according to preliminary numbers. The Ellen DeGeneres-hosted game show earned a 1.8/7 and 7.7 million viewers. The SOTU followed.

CBS was second in ratings with a 1.1/4 and in viewers with 6.6 million. Its greatest Super Bowl commercials special at 8 received a 1.1/4 and 7.4 million viewers. You know what happened at 9 p.m. ET.

ABC was third in ratings with a 0.9/3 and in viewers with 4.2 million. “Fresh Off the Boat” at 8 had a 1.0/4 and 4.2 million viewers. A second episode at 8:30 got a 1.0/4 and 3.7 million viewers. Trump’s speech and then the eventual Democratic response followed.

The CW was fourth in ratings with a 0.8/3 and fifth in viewers with 2.4 million. “The Flash” at 8 put up a 0.9/3 and 2.6 million viewers. At 9, “Black Lightning” posted a 0.8/3 and 2.2 million viewers.

Fox was fifth in ratings with a 0.7/3 and fourth in viewers with 3.1 million. A “Lethal Weapon” rerun led in to Trump’s national address.

Univision was sixth in ratings with a 0.6/2 and in viewers with 1.8 million.

Telemundo was seventh in ratings with a 0.5/2 and in viewers with 1.2 million.