The ratings are in for CNN’s Trump town hall, and the special only drew the audience for an average Tucker Carlson show.
Here are the ratings:
In the key 25- to 54-year-old demo, the town hall averaged 703,000, about five times higher than CNN’s typical performance at 8pm.
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) May 11, 2023
CNN was expecting a ratings bonanza after the E. Jean Carroll verdict, but instead, Trump drew fewer viewers than the last CNN town hall that he did in March 2016 (3.2 million), and it was nearly eight times fewer viewers than the 2015 Republican primary debate that CNN hosted (23 million).
Trump isn’t a huge ratings draw. CNN could have gone out and hired Tucker Carlson and pulled the same or better numbers than they got with Trump.
Before the town hall, Trump was all hype and promising record ratings. That didn’t come close to happening.
CNN was able to beat Fox and MSNBC with the Trump town hall, but how many of those viewers tuned in to see his comments about E. Jean Carroll? It will be interesting to see if CNN and Trump maintained those viewership numbers for the whole hour, or if they peaked early and then faded.
CNN has been mired in third place for what seems like forever in the cable news ratings, so executives like Chris Licht who are defending the town hall, are probably thrilled with the viewership numbers.
The fact that Trump didn’t draw an audience means that the ratings magic is long gone. Trump fatigue is real, and if the CNN town hall was a high water mark for his return to mainstream media, it is a bad sign for the Republican hopes of winning back the White House in 2024.
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Jason is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association