Television networks that broadcast the Jan. 6 Committee’s first summer hearing in prime time Thursday night failed to attract more viewers than on a typical weeknight.
“The world is watching what we do here,” Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said in his opening statement. “America has long been expected to be a shining city on a hill, a beacon of hope and freedom, a model for others when we are at our best.”
Thompson’s viewership, however, missed the mark.
According to preliminary ratings figures from Nielsen published by The New York Times, more than 19 million tuned in for what was anticipated to be a blockbuster event. While 19 million may seem high at first glance, a look at what cable and broadcast networks typically pull for an average evening reveals Thursday’s viewership as little to brag about, especially when all but one, Fox News, aired the livestream.
ABC News, a former president of which produced Thursday’s show trial, drew 4.8 million viewers. NBC and CBS each pulled just more than three million. The legacy networks, then, pulled about 11 million viewers combined Thursday night. According to AdWeek’s latest analysis of weekly television news ratings for the week of May 30, the broadcast networks’ evening programs collectively averaged nearly 18 million viewers, 7 million more than tuned into Thursday night’s Democrat programming.
Nielsen data published by The Hill revealed bumps for CNN and MSNBC which drew 2.6 and 4.1 million viewers respectively. The numbers are major jumps for the struggling networks which now typically struggle to reach an average 1 million viewers for their prime-time lineups. According to AdWeek, CNN averaged 555,000 viewers between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Wednesday and MSNBC averaged about 1.2 million. In contrast, Fox News Channel pulled an average of more than 2.8 million Wednesday night between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m., and on Thursday, averaged 3 million without carrying the Jan. 6 Committee proceedings as did every other network.