CNN delivered its highest RNC final night primetime performance on record last night. For the first time, CNN joined Fox News in beating all of the broadcast networks on the final night of the GOP’s confab, both in total viewers and in the news demo, in head-to-head competition. In this case, that was 10-11:45 PM, because Trump’s victory-lap speech ran very long.
FNC scored the best RNC final night stats in cable history in the 10-11 PM hour. The network that was much in the news yesterday owing to the day’s swift exit of chief Roger Ailes, also scored its second-highest primetime convention coverage ever: 7.2 million viewers. Its best ever had been the last night of the RNC in 2008, wrapping a week in which GOP nominee John McCain had gobsmacked viewers with the unveiling of Sarah Palin.
CNN jumped 161% compared to its 2012 total viewer tally and narrowed the gap with Fox News significantly in both compared to the final night of the 2012 RNC.
From 10 – 11:45 PM, when Ivanka gave her walk-up speech and dad took over, FNC delivered 9.4M viewers and 2.4M of them in the 25-54 age bracket that news operations sell to advertisers.
CNN followed with 5.5M viewers (1.9M news demo). NBC led the broadcast pack with 4.6M viewers (1.8M news demo), followed by ABC’s 3.9M (1.4M news demo), and CBS clocked 3.8M (1.2M news demo).
MSNBC delivered 3M viewers (927K news demo).
NBC led its broadcast competition all four nights of RNC.
The cable news networks got a running start by covering the RNC all day long. In primetime, FNC delivered 7.2M viewers (1.7M news demo). CNN logged 4.3M viewers (1.4M news demo) and MSNBC averaged 2.4M viewers (716K news demo).
Collectively, the broadcasters copped 12.06M viewers, and 4.4M news demo viewers, which edges out Night 4 of the 2012 RNC (12.02M viewers and 4.2M news-demo viewers), but falls far short of the 19.9M total viewers and 9.7M news-demo viewers of 2008 when John McCain was the GOP nominee and Sarah Palin his running mate.
In ‘08, NBC also had led the pack with 8.7M viewers (4.8M news demo viewers). ABC followed with 6M viewers (2.5M news demo viewers) and CBS clocked 5.3M total viewers (2.4M news demo viewers). But four years ago, in ’12, ABC led the broadcast pack with 4.2M viewers (1.5M news demo), NBC followed in total viewers (3.6M viewers), though not in news demo viewers (1.3M). CBS clocked 3.5M viewers overall and had edged out NBC with 1.4M news demo viewers.