The White House Correspondents’ Dinner has become must-see TV. Just a few years ago, the dinner was only televised live on C-SPAN, and any funny clips would be shared afterward. Now the clips still get shared, but people are tuning in live in droves.
President Obama and Conan O’Brien spoke during the 10-11 PM hour, and sure enough that is when tune-in was highest. CNN led the way with 1.49 million viewers, including 401,000 adults 25-54. Fox News drew 1.11 million viewers, including 183,000 A25-54, while MSNBC drew 640,000 total viewers, including 176,000 A25-54.
It is important to note that these numbers do not include anyone watching online, nor do they include C-SPAN, which is not rated by Nielsen. We can safely say that at least 3.5 million people watched the speeches live, all told.
From 9-10 PM, when the channels previewed the dinner (and when Ed Henry delivered his speech), the ratings were also strong:
Fox News led the way with 1.10 million viewers, including 116,000 A25-54. CNN drew 1.02 million viewers, including 178,000 A25-54, and MSNBC averaged 434,000 viewers, including 138,000 A25-54.