Trump brags about “sky high” town hall ratings — but they were lower than Biden’s town hall

CNN’s town hall with former President Donald Trump on Wednesday boosted the network’s ratings but drew fewer viewers than its 2020 town hall with then-presidential candidate Joe Biden and Trump’s previous events on Fox News.

Trump bragged about the ratings on Truth Social, arguing it was “very smart” for CNN to host the town hall because they got “Sky High Ratings that they haven’t seen in a very long time. It was by far the biggest Show of the night, the week, and the month!”

The 70-minute spectacle of lies, insults and attacks moderated by CNN anchor Kaitlan Collins in New Hampshire aired to a total audience of 3.308 million people, ranking it “2nd among total viewers, closely behind CNN’s 2020 Joe Biden Town Hall (9/17/20, 7:59p-9:15p; 3.465 million)” according to the network’s rankings memo.

The Wednesday town hall also drew 780,000 people in the 25 to 45-year-old advertising demo, according to Axios, quadrupling the amount typically seen by the network during Anderson Cooper’s 8 p.m. ET program.

Though the event made CNN the most-watched cable news network of the night, Nielsen data compiled by Fox News showed that CNN’s Trump town hall received far fewer viewers than several of Fox’s previous town halls with the former president, Mediaite reports.

Six Fox News town halls with Trump had audiences of 5.1 million people age two and up, 4.4 million P2+, 4.2 million P2+, 3.8 million P2+, 3.5 million P2+ and 3.2 million P2+, respectively. 

Axios also reported that the controversial event boosted CNN’s ratings in the 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. hours after the event.

However, according to Mediaite, CNN lost out to Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle” by 46% total viewership during those time slots, falling to 2.3 million viewers in the 9 p.m. hour and 1.2 million for the 10 p.m. hour.

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The CNN memo added that its town hall “delivered a larger demo audience than Trump’s first town hall of the 2020 election cycle on Fox News, drawing +5% more adults 25-54 (781k vs. 744k),” adding that “the event was significantly ahead of Trump’s last town hall appearance on CNN in 2016 (aired 4/12/16, 9p-10:05p), delivering +53% more total viewers (3.308m vs. 2.168m) and +35% more in the demo (781k vs. 579k).”

The event, during which Trump mocked E. Jean Carroll for four minutes just one day after being liable for sexually abusing her, drew the ire of several media personalities inside and outside of CNN, who criticized the network for platforming the former president’s falsehoods in front of an audience that cheered in support of him.

CNN chief executive Chris Licht defended the event in an editorial meeting with staff Thursday morning, acknowledging that covering Trump is “sticky and messy” but adding that “America was served very well by what we did last night.”

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