Joe Biden’s First Primetime Address Viewership Rises To 31M; Fox News Leads Cable Pack, ABC Tops All – Update


2nd UPDATE, 1:35 PM:  The President of the United States of America had a good night last night.

Besides his much praised speech on the last year of the coronavirus and reinvigorated efforts to combat the pandemic, Joe Biden also had the nation’s attention.

More numbers from Nielsen have pushed viewership for POTUS’ first primetime address to the Nation up to 32 million. That’s accounting for eyeballs on the 14 networks of ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, Telemundo, Univision, CNBC, CNN, CNNe, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, Newsmax, Newsnation & NEWSY. There is no data yet of how many people watched Biden’s 20-minute speech online.

If and when we get our hands on that data, we’ll update again.

UPDATE, 11:31 AM: Joe Biden may not be a favorite of Fox News viewers, but fans of the Rupert Murdoch-owned cabler newser sure tuned in bigly to the President’s first primetime address last night.

A touch over 4 million watched Biden’s 8 PM ET 20-minute speech on FNC last night, according to Nielsen. While that doesn’t top ABC’s 6.24 million  for the biggest POTUS overall on Thursday, it does have Fox as the leader of the pack among the cable news outlets – at least in terms of total audience.

CNN was third with 2.7 million viewers, but first in the news demo of adults 25-54 with 667,000 tuning in. FNC had a demo draw of 613,00 and MSNBC snagged 395,000. However, in overall viewership, the Comncast-owned and progressive leaning outlet won the silver with 3 million viewers.

When you add the cabler newsers to the haul that the Big had for Biden’s speech, the total is 28 million. That’s just a hair more than what Donald Trump garnered in his first primetime presidential address in August 2017.. However, add in Univision, and that result goes up to 29.3 million, a nice win for the 46th POTUS over the his bombastic predecessor.

And in politics, like life, a win is always a win.

PREVIOUSLY, 8:48 AM: “Finding light in the darkness is a very American thing to do,” President Joe Biden said Thursday night in his first presidential primetime address. “In fact, it may be the most American thing we do,” the 46th POTUS added on the first anniversary of the Covid-19 shutdown hitting the country.

Commemorating the nearly 530,000 Americans dead and the widespread economic devastation that has dominated the last year and condemning assaults on Asian-Americans, Biden’s just-over-20-minute speech from the White House’s East Room came mere hours after he signed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Act into law. Poised as the opening salvo in a coast-to-coast political pitch to further sell the already-popular initiative to the public, Biden’s 8 PM ET remarks were covered live on all four broadcast networks and Univision as well as all of the cabler newsers and online.

The result might have shuffled the primetime schedule around a bit, but the well-received speech looks to have been was a hit with viewers, at least in the early numbers.

On ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox, the Presidential Address to the Nation snared an audience of 18.2 million in fast affiliates. When you add in Univision numbers, that viewership rises to almost 20 million.

Or put this way — and this will sting a certain resident of Mar-a-Lago — that’s better than Donald Trump’s first primetime presidential address did on August 21, 2017. That speech on the ongoing war in Afghanistan drew under 18 million on the Big 4 with NBC logging 6.2 million viewers as the most-watched net of the address. Trump’s numbers went up to about 28 million when the likes of Fox News Channel, CNN and MSNBC were factored in later.

We will update with such data for Biden’s speech as it comes in later.

Right now, ABC is the winner of the viewership derby with 6.24 million viewers. With 6.2 million watching, CBS is a close second, followed by NBC, Fox and Univision.

Among adults 18-49, POTUS’ speech delivered a 0.8 to both the Disney-owned network and its ViacomCBS-owned rival, while NBC and the Murdoch-owned Fox pulled in a 0.5 rating each. Univision was just behind with a 0.4 in the primetime demo.

Biden may have beat Trump in terms of their respective first Presidential Address to the Nation. However, when it came to coronavirus speeches, the 46th POTUS was behind the 45th POTUS.

Coming on the dramatic day that the World Health Organization officially declared Covid-19 a global pandemic, Tom Hanks announced he had the virus and the NBA shut down its season, the former Celebrity Apprentice host’s March 11, 2020 error-packed and xenophobic 15-minute 9 PM ET speech drew just over 22 million viewers on the Big 4. A number that grew when CNN, FNC and MSNBC numbers were added in afterwards.

Again, in Covid-to-Covid speeches over the span of a harsh year, we’ll update Biden’s results when more information comes in.

This article was printed from