Trump Verdict Coverage Surpasses 10 Million Viewers Across Cable News Networks

Fox News drew the largest audience during the 5 o’clock hour when the verdict was read, with MSNBC topping primetime

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – MAY 30: Former U.S. President Donald Trump returns to court as the jury reaches a verdict in his hush money trial at Manhattan Criminal Court on May 30, 2024 in New York City. Judge Juan Merchan gave the jury instructions, and deliberations are entering their second day. The former president faces 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in the first of his criminal cases to go to trial. (Photo by Justin Lane-Pool/Getty Images)

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Cable news coverage of Donald Trump’s guilty verdict in his New York criminal trial drew over 10 million viewers between Fox News, CNN and MSNBC collectively during the hour the verdict was released. 

In the 5 p.m. ET timeframe, as news anchors read out each of the former president’s 34 guilty counts and immediately reacted to the news, all three cable news networks performed well above their usual averages. Fox News drew the largest crowd, with 4.43 million total average viewers, according to early Nielsen figures. MSNBC came in second with 3.42 million viewers, while CNN trailed with 2.38 million. 

In the key 25-54 demographic, Fox News came in first once again, scoring 569,000 viewers, with CNN notching 491,000 and MSNBC at 400,000. 

For Fox News, chief legal correspondent Shannon Bream helmed special coverage for the hour, and was joined by Andy McCarthy, Trey Gowdy and legal analyst Jonathan Turley. For MSNBC’s 5 p.m. coverage, Nicolle Wallace anchored the verdict report, alongside Rachel Maddow, Ari Melber and Andrew Weissmann. For CNN, the guilty verdict decision was delivered by Jake Tapper who was helming the special report alongside Dana Bash, Kaitlan Collins, Kristen Holmes, Paula Reid and Anderson Cooper. 

Cable news networks initiated additional special coverage plans for the evening following the verdict on Thursday, after airing coverage of the trial relentlessly for weeks.

In primetime, as cable news anchors and legal experts dissected the ramifications of the conviction, MSNBC took the lead, averaging 3.22 million total viewers from 8-11 p.m. ET. Fox News took second place notching 2.98 million viewers and CNN drew 1.19 million viewers. 

In the primetime 25-54 demographic, MSNBC stayed on top with 379,000 viewers, with Fox News drawing 354,000 and CNN getting 231,000. 

MSNBC’s primetime verdict coverage marked the network’s second-highest-rated night of 2024 so far, behind Biden’s State of the Union address. 

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