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When the House Select Committee set out to make its January 6 hearing public, it banked on using primetime television hours to draw in the most viewers. It’s now clear that gamble paid off. According to Nielsen numbers, the Jan. 6 hearing brought in sizable ratings for the networks that actually decided to air it. (Read: Not Fox News.)
While we’re not talking Super Bowl numbers, millions of Americans tuned into the hearing, which pulled in viewers on par with major NFL games. Via The New York Times:
Though the Thursday night figure pales next to presidential debates (63 million to 73 million) or this year’s State of the Union address (38 million), it’s still much larger than the audience that would normally watch a daytime congressional hearing. And it’s in the ballpark of television events like a big “Sunday Night Football” game or the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
ABC attracted the biggest audience among the broadcast networks, with 4.8 million viewers. NBC and CBS each had an audience of more than three million. MSNBC had an average audience of 4.2 million, and CNN drew 2.6 million.
As IndieWire notes, MSNBC crushed Fox News (which just barely beat CNN for the night) thanks to the conservative network’s eyebrow-raising choice to not air the Jan. 6 hearings at all. In fact, the network skipped commercial breaks altogether so viewers wouldn’t be tempted to flip over to the proceedings that shared damning evidence about Donald Trump, Republican politicians, and Fox News itself thanks to Sean Hannity‘s close relationship with the former president.
In short, on top of being implicated in an outright insurrection, Fox News had to take a beating from MSNBC, which probably stings the most over there. Let’s be honest.