RNC night 1 delivers 22.5 million viewers, Fox News and CNN lead


The opening night of the 2016 Republican National Convention drew 22.53 million viewers across the Big 3 broadcast networks and the three top cable news channels, Fox News, CNN and MSNBC.

Fox News drew the biggest audience overall — 6.35 million — when all six channels were airing coverage at 10 p.m. ET. It tied NBC for No. 1 in the key news demographic of adults 25-54 with a 1.4 rating. CNN (3.94 million) finished second in viewers, just ahead of NBC’s 3.91 million.

There’s no direct comparison with the opening of the 2012 convention. ABC, CBS and NBC skipped covering the first night of both the Republican and Democratic conventions four years ago, and the cable channels only covered them as part of their regular programming.

The first night of RNC coverage in 2012, on the second day of the convention, drew 20.57 million viewers. Monday’s combined total was a 9.5 percent increase over that, with CNN scoring the biggest gains — its total audience was more than 2 1/2 times bigger than four years ago.

Below are the viewer averages and ratings among adults 25-54 and 18-49 for Monday’s 10 p.m. ET convention coverage.

Network Viewers (millions) Adults 25-54 rating Adults 18-49 rating
Fox News 6.35 1.4 0.9
CNN 3.94 1.2 0.9
NBC 3.91 1.4 1.1
ABC 3.64 1.1 0.7
CBS 2.69 0.7 0.5
MSNBC 2.00 0.4 0.3

Source: The Nielsen Company.

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