Fox News Was the Most-Watched Network for Coverage of Yesterday’s Hearing

By A.J. Katz 

The Judge Brett KavanaughDr. Christine Blasey Ford Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing will be remembered for years to come.

It was extraordinarily dramatic for a variety of reasons, and millions of people watched the day-long coverage.

Fox News was No. 1 in cable news for TV coverage of the hearings, as one might have expected. Per early Nielsen data, FNC averaged 5.69 million in total viewers and 1.1 million in the 25-54 demo from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. with coverage led by Special Report’s Bret Baier, The Story’s Martha MacCallum and Fox News Sunday’s Chris Wallace. FNC’s coverage had double and triple-digit advantages over both CNN (2.52 million viewers; 736,000 A25-54) and MSNBC (2.89 million viewers; 464,000 A25-54).


In prime time, FNC averaged 5.5 million in total viewers and 1.3 million in the key demo. Hannity, the No. 1 show on cable news, was also the top-rated show across the board last night, posting its second-highest rated telecast in both categories since returning to the 9 p.m. timeslot, with 5.86 million total viewers and 1.37 million in the A25-54 demo. Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of the most pivotal figures of the hearings, was on the program.

As one may have guessed, CNN defeated MSNBC across the testimony hearing block when it came to drawing A25-54, yet MSNBC finished ahead of CNN in total viewers. MSNBC beat CNN in prime time among A25-54 and total viewers.

According to early Nielsen data:

  • Sept. 27, 2018 | Total Viewers  / A25-54

Full Senate Testimony Hearing Block (10 a.m. – 7 p.m. ET)

Fox News: 5,691,000 / 1,073,000
MSNBC:  2,892,000 / 464,000
CNN:  2,515,000 / 736,000

11.1 million watched the full hearing block on cable news, with Fox News dominating (5.7 million)

Dr. Christine Blasey Ford Testimony (10:30 a.m.-2:15 p.m. ET)

Fox News: 4,689,000 / 840,000
MSNBC:  2,715,000 / 393,000
CNN:  2,365,000 / 652,000

9.8 million watched Dr. Blasey Ford’s testimony on cable news, with FNC leading the way.

Judge Brett Kavanaugh Testimony (3:15 p.m.-6:45 p.m. ET)

Fox News: 7,174,000 / 1,395,000
MSNBC:  3,182,000 / 553,000
CNN:  2,784,000 / 856,000

13.1 million watched Judge Kavanaugh’s testimony on cable news, with FNC dominating.

Prime Time (8-11 p.m. ET)

Fox News: 5,503,000 / 1,314,000
MSNBC:  3,176,000 / 721,000
CNN:  1,896,000 / 670,000

Yes, millions watched the hearings on TV. But not all. Many were stuck in cubicles, cord-cutters, and/or younger people who livestreamed coverage of the hearings on various platforms.

CNN, for instance, offered up its livestream unauthenticated – meaning viewers could check out the hearings on CNN without requiring log-in to a cable provider.

Speaking of CNN, the network had its biggest day of 2018 and its 6th biggest day of all-time for live streaming with 8.2 million live starts on its website and apps. The 8.2 million is livestream coverage of the two hearings (10 a.m.-6:45 p.m. ET).

According to Adobe Analytics, the livestream of the hearing on Fox News’ digital platforms drove 3 million video starts yesterday.

We were provided with a combined number of live video starts for NBC and, but not a number of live video starts for

CBSN, CBS News’ 24/7 streaming news service, said it had its No. 1 day of 2018 in terms of livestreams, and No. 4 day overall since CBSN launched in 2014. The service also had the most peak concurrent viewers of all time yesterday in the 4 p.m. hour. That said, the service won’t be putting out specific numbers.


Friday, 5:47 p.m. ET update:

Preliminary Nielsen numbers are in for the big three English language broadcast networks, and it appears ABC News is No. 1 in total viewers, posting nearly 3.3 million across the full testimony coverage block, while NBC News is No. 1 in the A25-54 demo, with 749,000.

According to early Nielsen data:

  • Sept. 27, 2018 | Total Viewers  / A25-54

Full Senate Testimony Hearing Block

  • Fox News: 5,691,000 / 1,073,000
  • ABC: 3,263,000 / 691,000
  • CBS:  3,102,000 / 632,000
  • NBC:  2,948,000 / 749,000
  • MSNBC:  2,892,000 / 464,000
  • CNN:  2,515,000 / 736,000

According to early Nielsen data, 20.4 million total viewers tuned into testimony coverage over the six networks shown above, with Fox News finishing No. 1 across-the-board.

There were more networks which aired the hearing, but because of timing when final data is delivered into Nielsen’s reporting tools, data for those additional networks will not be available until after the weekend, likely Monday.

When Nielsen data for PBS and the Spanish language broadcasters arrive, we will update.