Fox News led coverage for President Trump’s primetime address from the Oval Office on Tuesday night, drawing 8.2 million viewers from 9-9:15 p.m. ET, easily besting its cable and broadcast competition.
Trump’s speech drew just over 4 million viewers to MSNBC, while CNN grabbed 3.4 million viewers for its coverage of the speech. For the entire 9-9:30 p.m. ET window, which included the response from Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Fox News averaged just over 8 million viewers, while MSNBC bringing in 4.2 million and CNN with 3.6 million.
In total, both the Oval Office address and the Democrat response were seen by 35.3 million viewers across all networks, according to Nielsen. For comparisons sake, a similar primetime address that former President Barack Obama gave on ISIS, in Sept. 2014, drew just over 34 million viewers across all networks. That one also ran from 9-9:30 p.m. ET.
ABC drew 5.8 million viewers between 9-9:30 p.m., while Fox brought in 2.9 million. Ratings for NBC and CBS (which is in the middle of the contract dispute with Nielsen), were not available. ABC, NBC and CBS all cut into regularly scheduled primetime programming to air the address. The non-cable channels spent a little time on post-speech analysis before returning to their regularly scheduled programs.
Among the advertiser-coveted adults 25-54 “news” demo, ABC narrowly bested Fox News for the 9-9:30 timeslot with 1.88 million viewers (compared to FNC’s 1.87 million). CNN drew 1.3 million, while MSNBC garnered 811,000 in the demo. For the speech itself (only cable network ratings were available for that specifically), FNC drew 1.91 million viewers, with CNN bringing in 1.3 million and MSNBC getting 731,000 viewers.
The major news networks differed sharply in how they covered Donald Trump address from the Oval Office on Tuesday to make a case for tough immigration laws and more than $5 billion in funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
On Fox News, host Tucker Carlson kept it light with colleague Dana Perino, volleying between joking about recent news coverage and dispassionate assessments of what Trump might and might not say. MSNBC hosts Chris Hayes and Rachel Maddow were already pre-fact checking the president, offering corrections to claims they expected him to make and offered liberal-friendly speculation about how the shutdown might end.