Midterms 2022 Attract Over 25M Viewers, Double-Digit Drop From 2018; Control Of Congress Still Unknown — Update

UPDATE, 3:29 PM: The balance of power in Washington DC is still to be determined, but the final votes have been counted up for small screen coverage of November 8’s midterm elections coverage.

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Approximately 25.4 million people watched last night’s results in primetime, according to Nielsen. That total figure comes from 8 – 11 PM coverage on ABC, CBS, NBC, Telemundo, Univision, CNN, CNNe, Fox Business, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, Newsmax and NewsNation. Out of home and connected TV viewing is also included in the data.

Indicative of the state of 21st century media and perhaps the allure of politics in a deeply divided America last night’s total viewership tumbled 29% from the 2018 midterm viewership. That night four years ago, which saw the Democrats take back the House of Representatives and set up a fighting opposition to then President Donald Trump, was aired on ABC, CBS, NBC, Telemundo, Univision, PBS, CNN, CNNe, Fox Business, Fox News Channel and MSNBC.

In a bit of an update from earlier, things moved around among the broadcast networks. ABC now is number #1 among the Big Three with 3.307 million viewers watching the Disney-owned net’s primetime midterms coverage. NBC were a close second with 3.107 million tuning in, and CBS had an audience of 2.561 million.

Overall, the audience for the 2022 midterms was up 11% from the 2014 midterms where then President Barack Obama had a much worse night that President Joe Biden did last night. Then again, in a very different era, those midterms of eight years ago were only shown on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC

PREVIOUSLY, 1:19 PM: America doesn’t yet know who will hold power in the Senate and if Republicans have achieved a solid majority in the House of Representatives, but Fox News Channel was the winner again on election night for this year’s midterms.

With data heavy coverage, the Rupert Murdoch-owned cable newswer pulled in 7.2 million viewers in primetime on November 8. Now, while results continued to come in well into the AM, FNC easily held the lead in the evening. MSNBC came in second with around 3.1 million sets of eyeballs, according to Nielsen.

Compared to the 2018 midterms where the Democrats took back the House, Fox News was still in the top spot, but with just an 8% overall audience dip from four years ago. The outlet also was number #1 in the news 25-54 demo with 1.8 million viewers. A win is always a win, but Fox might want to keep an eye on those demo numbers, which dropped 25% from the 2018 midterms

Still, there are some bragging rights that FNC beat CNN and MSNBC combined in total viewers.

In fact, with an audience of 2.47 million, now Warner Bros Discovery-owned CNN was third in cable news viewers for the very first time. Looking at the very different media landscape of 2018, CNN took a hard 51% fall in viewership to find themselves behind their main cable rivals and the broadcast networks.

Among the broadcast nets, NBC had 3.09 million viewers, ABC had 3.03 million, and CBS pulled in 2.5 million watching. Fox Business Network saw 598,000 tune in during the 8 – 11 PM block with biz rival CNBC getting a small audience of 103,000