With all of the Big 4 running it live, the very last State of the Union address of Barack Obama’s presidency saw jokes and barbs about those running to succeed him, a call to cure cancer, pleas to pass the big Pacific Rim trade deal and Paul Ryan’s debut in the Speaker’s chair over POTUS’ shoulder. Overall, the President also offered an optimistic assessment of the nation in his just over an hour speech but the incumbent conceded he hadn’t been able to overcome the harsh bipartisan battles that have characterized his term in office.
If early numbers are anything to go by, Obama wasn’t able to get more eyeballs to watch his speech either. With an average audience of 18.1 million watching the 9 – 10 PM coverage on ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC, Obama’s speech was down 8% from the early numbers of last year’s January 20 talk to Congress.
Heading into the twilight of his term in office that continues the POTUS downward viewership trend. Obama’s 2015 SOTU was down 7% from his 2014 speech in the early Big 4 audience averages – which was down from the year before. In the final viewership numbers, the 2015 speech ended up being a SOTU low for the President – which we could see as the case this year.
Among adults 18-49, early numbers have NBC’s coverage of the SOTU even with last year’s 1.5 but the other nets saw declines in the demo. ABC and CBS both drew a 1.0/3 – that’s down 9% and 23% respectively from 2015. With a 0.7/2, Fox saw its SOTU coverage saw the sharpest fall with a 30% drop. The cume demo rating of 4.2 is down 14% from 2015, an Obama low. Adjusted numbers and cable new numbers are expected later today and we’ll update then.
CBS and ABC ran repeats before the SOTU but NBC and Fox slipped in originals. Hollywood Game Night (1.2/4) was even with last week as were New Girl (1.4/4) and Grandfathered (1.0/3) – the latter having a mini-Full House reunion with Bob Saget showing up to join old pal John Stamos. The CW’s Madtv 20th Anniversary Reunion got an OK 0.6/2 while iZombie (0.5/2) was even with its last original from December.