By Lynn Elber, The Associated Press on November 10, 2020.
LOS ANGELES – CNN and Fox News Channel battled for viewers on the election day that turned into an election week and then some, each earning bragging rights.
CNN edged Fox among total viewers for the week, averaging 5.9 million viewers to Fox’s 5.7 million. The latter was dominant on Tuesday as President Donald Trump and former Vice-President Joe Biden faced off at the polls.
Fox averaged 14.1 million viewers Tuesday to CNN’s 9.4 million, with MSNBC drawing 7.6 million, according to Nielsen figures. But CNN was tops among those watching Biden’s Saturday evening speech after the race was called in his favour, with 13.5 million tuning in.
MSNBC’s coverage drew 9 million viewers, while Fox’s viewership for the speech was not included on Nielsen’s list of the top 40 cable shows.
For the week, MSNBC averaged 4.6 million viewers.
Cable channels were the preferred option for those following the election, as the broadcast networks lagged behind individually and cumulatively. Their Tuesday viewership was ABC, 6.3 million; NBC, 5.8 million; CBS, 4.5 million.
Viewers also kept an eye on football and the pandemic-delayed season premieres of returning shows, including CBS’ “Young Sheldon” and “NCIS: Los Angeles,” each drawing 6 million-plus viewers.
Powered by a NFL game, NBC was the week’s most-watched network in prime time, reaching an average of 6.33 million viewers. CBS had 4.95 million, the Fox broadcasting network had 4.3 million, ABC had 4.1 million, Univision had 1.34 million, Telemundo had 1.1 million, Ion Television had 1.09 million and CW had 580,000.
Besides the news channels, other cable leaders included ESPN with 2.2 million viewers, Hallmark with 1.5 million and HGTV with 1 million.
ABC’s “World News Tonight” led the evening newscasts, averaging 9.4 million viewers for the week. NBC’s “Nightly News” had 8.2 million and the “CBS Evening News” had 5.7 million.