Wednesday, January 13, 2021

TV Ratings: CNN Hits All-Time Single Day High

The attack on the U.S. Capitol last week brought more viewers to CNN than any other single day in the network’s 40-year history.

CNN averaged 5.2 million viewers last Wednesday, eclipsing its previous high of 5.1 million on Election Day 2016, reports The Associated Press citing data from the Nielsen company. The network had 4.47 million viewers on Sept. 11, 2001, Nielsen said.

During the storming of the Capitol itself on Wednesday afternoon, CNN averaged nearly 9 million viewers. CNN also led all of the cable news and broadcast networks during prime-time that evening, when Nielsen estimated more than 33 million people tuned in to watch Congress go back into session to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.

MSNBC averaged 4 million viewers on Wednesday and Fox News Channel had 3 million.

NBC, led by a strong NFL playoff game Sunday night between the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers, was the top broadcast network last week, averaging 8.6 million viewers in prime time. CBS had 5.7 million, ABC had 3.8 million, Fox had 2.5 million, Univision had 1.4 million, Ion Television had 1.1 million and Telemundo had 920,000.

For the week, the 20 most-watched programs in prime time, their networks and viewership:

The Top 20 Prime-Times shows (Total Viewers):

1. NFL Football: Cleveland at Pittsburgh, NBC, 24.78 million.

2. “NFL Postgame” (Sunday), CBS, 19.33 million.

3. “NFL Pregame,” NBC, 16.01 million.

4. “NFL Postgame” (Saturday, 8:13-8:19 p.m.), Fox, 14.91 million.

5. “60 Minutes,” CBS, 14.8 million.

6. “NFL Postgame” (Saturday, 8:19-8:25 p.m.), Fox, 9.47 million.

7. “Anderson Cooper 360” (Wednesday), CNN, 8.87 million.

8. “Cuomo Prime Time” (Wednesday), CNN, 8.79 million.

9. “Capitol Attack” (Wednesday, 8:06 p.m.), MSNBC, 8.49 million.

10. “Celebrity Wheel of Fortune,” ABC, 8.15 million.

11. “CNN Tonight” (Wednesday), CNN, 7.8 million.

12. “The Rachel Maddow Show” (Wednesday), MSNBC, 7.77 million.

13. “Last Word” (Wednesday), MSNBC, 6.79 million.

14. “Blue Bloods,” CBS, 6.56 million.

15. “The Chase,” ABC, 6.49 million.

16. “The Neighborhood,” CBS, 6.21 million.

17. “Tucker Carlson Tonight” (Wednesday), Fox News Channel, 6 million.

18. “NCIS: Los Angeles,” CBS, 5.89 million.

19. “Magnum, P.I., CBS, 5.87 million.

20. “Anderson Cooper 360” (Thursday), CNN, 5.8 million.

ABC’s “World News Tonight” led the evening news ratings race, averaging 9.2 million viewers. NBC’s “Nightly News” had 7.9 million and the “CBS Evening News” had 5.8 million.

CNN averaged 4.11 million viewers in prime time, beating all the cable networks. MSNBC had 3.67 million, Fox News Channel had 3.1 million, HGTV had 1.12 million and Hallmark had 1.05 million.

According to A J Katz at TV Newser, Coverage of the Georgia senate special election (remember that?), followed by the Senate’s counting of the electoral college votes, and then of course wall-to-wall coverage of the horrific attacks on the U.S. Capitol, along with the aftermath, lifted CNN and MSNBC to record viewership last week.

Nielsen live-plus-same-day data for the week of Jan. 4, 2021, CNN also averaged 1.35 million adults 25-54 in prime time (almost more than Fox News and MSNBC combined) and 830,000 adults 25-54 across the 24-hour day (which is more than Fox News and MSNBC combined).

Speaking of adults 25-54, Anderson Cooper was the No. 1 cable news host last week among adults 25-54, averaging 1.44 million viewers from the demo across four nights (Monday, Wednesday-Friday). Cooper edged his colleague Chris Cuomo, who averaged 1.39 million adults 25-54 for the week. Don Lemon averaged 1.25 million adults 25-54 in the 10 p.m. hour. No other cable news show averaged more than 1 million demo viewers last week.

Year-over-year, the trend is wild: CNN is +278% in total prime time viewers, +308% in the prime time demo, +275% in total day viewers and +332% in the total day demo.

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