Fox News, NBC Deliver on Opening Night of GOP Convention

By A.J. Katz Comment

Fox News made its return to Cleveland after the record-breaking debate last summer, and topped not only the cable competition in prime time but topped all broadcast networks in total viewers during the 10 p.m. ET hour (when Melania Trump gave her speech). America’s Election Headquarters anchors Bret Baier and Megyn Kelly led the 10 p.m. coverage.

NBC defeated all cable and broadcast competition at 10 p.m. when it came to the news demo. NBC Nightly News’ Lester Holt anchored the hour, and was joined by NBC News’ Savannah Guthrie, and Chuck Todd. NBC News correspondents Tom Brokaw, Andrea Mitchell, Peter Alexander and Hallie Jackson also contributed to the prime time hour. Political commentator Nicolle Wallace and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich were also on set for NBC News.

CNN averaged more total viewers than the broadcast nets during the 10 p.m. hour, and it also defeated ABC and CBS in the key A25-54 demo.


  • July 18: 8- 11 p.m. ET | Total Viewers / A25-54 Demo

Fox News: 5,502,000 / 1,301,000

CNN: 3,603,000 / 1,181,000

MSNBC: 1,925,000 / 469,000


  • July 18: 10-11 p.m. ET | Total Viewers / A25-54 Demo

Fox News: 6,348,000 /  1,600,000

CNN: 3,943,000 / 1,373,000

NBC: 3,913,000 / 1,637,000

ABC: 3,643,000 /  1,254,000

CBS: 2,963,000 / 785,000

MSNBC: 1,995,000 / 503,000

Compared to the first night of the RNC in 2012, CNN saw an improvement in total prime time viewers (3.603,000 vs. 1,201,000 in 2012). The same appears to be true for Fox News (5,502,000 vs. 5,150,000 in 2012) and MSNBC (1,925,000 vs. 1,317,000).

Additionally, CNN Digital kicked off the 2016 convention season strong with the first day in Cleveland ranking No. 1 across all metrics compared to every day of the 2008 and 2012 RNC and DNC conventions. It exceeded the first day of the RNC’s 2008 convention in unique visitors by 55 percent and video starts by 336 percent.