CNN’s ‘Drive-In’ Town Hall Featuring Joe Biden Delivers Network’s Highest-Rated Single-Candidate Town Hall Ever

By A.J. Katz 

Mostly positive news for CNN today on the ratings front: Moderated by Anderson Cooper, CNN’s “Drive-In” Town Hall featuring former vp and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden averaged 3.3 million total viewers and 718,000 adults 25-54 yesterday from 8-9:15 p.m. ET. Those figures represent CNN’s largest single-candidate Town Hall audience ever.

This is according to Fast National Nielsen data. Additional live-plus-same-day data will arrive later this afternoon/early evening, which should give CNN an additional bump.

How did CNN’s performance stack up against other cable news programming airing during the same time period? Fox News averaged 4.6 million total viewers and 774,000 adults 25-54 during the 8-9:15 p.m. ET time period, which featured the entirety of Tucker Carlson Tonight and the first quarter-hour of Hannity.

President Trump’s Wisconsin rally took place from 9:15-10:30 p.m. ET, with Sean Hannity dipping in and out of the rally during his 9 p.m. hour. Laura Ingraham dipped in and out of the rally during the first half of her 10 p.m. hour.

So, one should take that into account when sizing up these networks.

A significant chunk of Chris Hayes’ viewers likely changed the channel to CNN for one night to watch the Biden Town Hall during his time slot, and ratings were lower than usual. The network ended up averaging 2.05 million total viewers and 352,000 adults 25-54 from 8-9:15 p.m. MSNBC viewership skyrocketed beginning at 9:15 p.m. ET, after the CNN Town Hall ended, as Rachel Maddow came on air at that time. The network easily eclipsed 3 million viewers from 9:15-10 p.m. ET., but still finished behind CNN in adults 25-54 viewers.

The Thursday, Sept. 17 Scoreboard, showing Fox News, CNN and MSNBC prime time numbers, will post this evening.