Snagging an audience of 4.17 million for its primetime coverage of the 14-state battled between ex-Veep Joe Biden and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, the Rupert Murdoch-owned outlet beat all the its cable and broadcast rivals again. In fact, FNC drew the second largest cable audience ever for Super Tuesday coverage, only bested by it 2016 efforts.
Overall, Super Tuesday 2020 attracted about 19 million viewers.
However, though fourth in viewers with 2.8 million tuning in from 8 – 11 PM last night, CNN held on to the adults 25-54 lead with an average audience of 1.093 million.
Though both FNC and the WarnerMedia-controlled CNN are down in varying minor degrees from Super Tuesday four years ago, their respective category standings are unchanged from March 1, 2016 when both Democrats Hillary Clinton and Sen Sanders were in competition as well as a pack of GOP candidates led by not unopposed incumbent Donald Trump.
With everyone slipping from their 2016 results, MSNBC was second in viewers with 3.8 million and NBC itself was third with 2.9 million. ABC was in fifth place with 2.7 million and CBS came up sixth among cable newsers and Big 4 networks with a close 2.6 million watching the primary coverage.
In the 25-54 demo, NBC was second with 983,000 viewers, FNC was third with 932,000 and MSNBC was fourth with 910,000. ABC had 805,000 over primetime among adults 24-54 and CBS had 640,000.
And we’ll be doing this all again to some degree with more primaries on the horizon.
PREVIOUSLY, 9:17 AM: Super Tuesday proved a very good night for Joe Biden, but the return of Empire (0.6 rating in the adults 18-49 demographic, 2.46 million) for the second part of its final season helped Fox win the night’s primetime ratings race.
As to be expected in a midseason return for the soapy drama series, there was a body count on the “Can’t Truss ‘Em” episode, on and off the screen. Although Empire and a strong lead-in from The Resident (0.8, 4.80M) pushed Fox to an overall demo win against political coverage on the other Big 4 networks, the series’ 11th episode of its sixth season was down just over 53% from its last midseason return on March 13, 2019. That makes last night’s midseason return the lowest in Empire’s history.
The other broadcast networks meanwhile were focused on the real-life drama of the Democrats’ primary showdown mostly pitting the resurrected former Vice President Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders. In a long night waiting final tallies from Texas and the closing of the California polls, the ratings spoils go to NBC, at least in the early, unadjusted fast affiliate numbers.
With a 0.6 rating among the 18-49s and 2.81 million viewers, the Comcast-owned network held on to its first-place perch of four years ago. However, without The Voice as a lead-in like back on March 1, 2016, its coverage tumbled 60% in the key demo.
Otherwise, ABC snared a 0.5 rating and 2.71 million viewers, and CBS had a 0.4 rating and an audience of 2.51 million.
Of course, all the numbers will change as the finals come in over the next few hours. Also, playing a big factor in Super Tuesday results will be the cable newsers, particularly Fox News Channel, which traditionally dominates such nights.
We will update with all those Super Tuesday ratings as we get them.