Fox News Channel blew past the broadcast networks to become the most-watched channel in all of television for coverage of President Trump’s address to the Joint Session of Congress. FNC clocked a hefty 10.8M viewers during the speech, besting usual frontrunner NBC, logging 9.14 million viewers, as well as CBS’s 7.2M, ABC’s 6.1M, and Fox broadcast network’s 3.1M.
FNC clobbered CNN’s 4M and MSNBC’s 2.7M in total viewers; FBN contributed 593K to the overall crowd.
In the news demo, ages 25-54, FNC’s FNC’s 2.8 million viewers ranked No. 1 to NBC’s 3.3M. ABC was next with 2.07M, CBS’s 1.9M, CNN’s 1.5M, Fox broadcast network’s 1.4M, MSNBC’s 670K, and FBN’s 118K.
Across this landscape, Trump’s address clocked a collective 43.4 million viewers. Which means Trump still has got a way to go to match the 52.4M viewers who tuned in to watch President Obama’s first address before the Joint Session of Congress in 2009, or President Clinton’s 66.7 million in his first such address in 1993, back when the TV universe looked different and live-streaming was not such a “thing.”
These so-called addresses before the Joint Session of Congress are, practically speaking, a president’s first State of the Union Address. And, typically, they clock the biggest crowd that president is going to snag during his one or two terms in office.
A notable exception: President George W. Bush’s first such address averaged 40M viewers; it got eclipsed by his 2003 State of the Union Address. More than 62 million viewers tuned in that night to hear Bush justify plans to invade Iraq with the claim Saddam Hussein had sought significant amount of Uranium.
Nielsen will issue final Trump speech stats this afternoon, which will include more viewers who watched via additional cable networks’ coverage.