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Fox News Leads Cable News Ratings During Trump Guilty Verdict Reading

After six weeks, the hush money trial from New York City that accused Donald Trump of falsifying business records in an effort to prevent the leaking of news of his sexual encounter with adult film actress Stormy Daniels prior to the 2016 election came to a conclusion on Thursday, May 30, with a guilty verdict by a 12-member jury on all 34 counts. The announcement of this verdict was, of course, a big boost to all the networks covering it. Fox News Channel was the biggest beneficiary.

The network was the most-watched outlet covering the breaking news, beginning at 5 PM ET, drawing 4.43 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research’s early numbers. On the day of Trump‘s first arraignment — Tuesday, April 4, 2023, for this same hush money case — in the same 5 PM hour, Fox News had posted 4.178 million viewers, based on Nielsen’s final live plus same-day data.

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Elsewhere on cable, MSNBC (3.42 million) and CNN (2.38 million) also received significant increases from their normal levels. On the Thursday prior (May 23) in the same time slot, MSNBC’s Deadline: White House (from 4-6 PM) had delivered 1.382 million while the 5 pm hour of CNN’s The Lead with Jake Tapper drew 583,000.

Revisiting Trump’s Apr. 4, 2023 arraignment, MSNBC had posted 2.679 million from 4–6 p.m. and CNN got 2.809 million within the 3 PM hour that day.; CNN had peaked at 2.089 million within the 3 PM hour that day.

A combined 16.07 million across five networks — Fox News, MSNBC, CNN, ABC (3.34 million), and CBS (2.5 million) — tuned in to the breaking news coverage of Trump‘s conviction. When NBC’s data comes available, that combined figure will probably rise to approximately 18-19 million.

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