President Donald Trump treated the announcement of his nominee to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy like the finale of a reality TV show. He scheduled the reveal for primetime, constantly teased that his fans would be very happy, whittled down the candidates to a Final Four, and kept the nominee a secret until right before Brett Kavanaugh’s name was uttered.
Therefore, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that millions of Americans tuned into broadcast and cable news to see who Trump gave the rose to, and it also isn’t all that shocking that Fox News was the big winner of the night. At the same time, despite all of Trump’s lead-up and hype, fewer people tuned in this time around than when the president announced his first Supreme Court nomination — Neil Gorsuch
According to Nielsen, Fox News attracted 6.644 million total viewers and 1.345 million in the key 25-54 demographic for Trump’s 9 PM to 9:15 announcement. Not only did FNC easily lead cable news in both the demo and total viewership, it pulled in a bigger total audience than any of the broadcast networks.
ABC finished second overall in total viewers with 4.968 million while topping Fox News in the demo with 1.497 million. CBS pulled in 3.43 million viewers overall and FOX attracted 1.937 million. Early Nielsen numbers weren’t provided for NBC at the time of publication, but Deadline reported that NBC’s early numbers showed 4.83 million.
MSNBC nabbed a total audience of 2.053 million for the announcement and 370,000 in the demo while CNN captured 1.587 million total viewers and 486,000 in the demographic.
Compared to last year’s Gorsuch announcement, however, Fox News and CNN were down in total viewership while MSNBC was up. FNC drew 7.56 million total viewers for Gorsuch while CNN pulled in 2.03 million and MSNBC grabbed 1.57 million.
As for the broadcast networks, they were also largely down across the board. CBS led the way last year with 7.97 million viewers, followed by NBC’s 5.91 million, ABC’s 5.18 million and FOX’s 2.2 million.