CNN’s full-primetime special of interviews with each of the five presidential candidates logged 1.8 million viewers last night. In the news demo, the special, which included live and taped interviews with the remaining Dem and GOP candidates, clocked 592K news demo viewers, edging past FNC’s 588K. In overall haul, CNN’s special trailed Fox News Channel’s 8-11 PM 2.8M viewers. Meanwhile, MSNBC averaged 1.072 total viewers in primetime last night, and 269K news demo viewers.
CNN said last week it would host all five presidential candidates, including Donald Trump and John Kasich, last night from 8-11 PM ET. That’s the night Fox News Channel had announced the next GOP debate, only to pull the plug two days later when Trump said he would not show up because enough with the debates, and Kasich said “me neither” – or words to that effect. The date was picked because it’s just before tonight’s “Western Tuesday” primary contests in Arizona, Utah and Idaho.
During last night’s event, Trump told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that Fox wanted him to be a part of Megyn Kelly’s upcoming primetime special and insisted it’s Kelly who is obsessed with him, not the other way around. Kelly owes her current success to him, said the GOP front-runner, who argued she owes him half her salary. (A Fox rep has said neither Kelly nor Bill Geddie, who is exec producing the special, had any conversations with Trump about participating in the Fox broadcast network special.)
“She’s got the obsession,” Trump snarled at Blitzer.
On Friday, Fox News took its defense of Kelly to a whole new level, blasting Trump for his “vitriolic attacks against Megyn Kelly and his extreme, sick obsession with her” which the news division said “is beneath the dignity of a presidential candidate who wants to occupy the highest office in the land.” That came hours after Trump, as he has many times since announcing his candidacy, took off after Kelly on Twitter, alerting “everybody” to boycott her show because it’s “always a hit on Trump!” and describing her as “sick, & the most overrated person on TV.”