The numbers are in for Tuesday night’s State of the Union address, and it’s a given that our very ratings-driven president is going to cheer that the ratings are up compared to his previous two national speeches. Meanwhile, Fox News was far and away the channel of choice for SOTU viewers, pulling in over 11 million total viewers and beating out all of the broadcast networks.
Early Nielsen ratings revealed that 32 percent of households tuned into the address Tuesday evening across 12 broadcast and cable networks. Last year’s State of the Union, in comparison, eventually pulled in a 30.7 ratings and 45.8 million total viewers.
Fox News averaged 11.266 million total viewers and 2.799 million in the key 25-54 demographic for the roughly 80-minute speech, which began at 9:07 PM ET. Elsewhere in cable news, MSNBC drew a total viewership of 3.785 million and a demo audience of 950,000 while CNN pulled in 3.471 million viewers overall and 1.228 million in the key demo for the speech.
Over on the broadcast networks, NBC led the way in both total viewership (7.142 million) and the 25-54 demo (2.633 million). CBS nabbed 6.679 million total viewers and 1.924 million in the demo. ABC averaged a total audience of 5.905 million and 1.775 million in the demographic.
For the Democratic response delivered by one-time Georgia Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams, Fox News came out on top with 7.885 million total viewers and 1.901 million in the key demo. MSNBC saw its audience grow from the State on the Union, drawing 4.776 million viewers overall and 1.093 million in the demographic. CNN pulled in a demo audience of1.265 million and 3.384 million total viewers.
Ahead of the speech, Fox News also had the top-rated lead-in, as Tucker Carlson Tonight attracted 4.795 million viewers overall and 947,000 in the key demo. MSNBC’s special coverage captured 2.598 million total viewers and 459,000 in the demographic. CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 grabbed 521,000 demo viewers and a total audience of 1.688 million.