January 18, 2021

More Than 19 Million TV Viewers Watched James Comey’s Hearing

Former FBI Director James Comey‘s hearing Thursday drew nearly 19.5 million television viewers, according to preliminary estimates reported by Nielsen Media on Friday.

The ratings agency looked at major networks including ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC, Univision, Fox Business Network, Fox News, HLN and MSNBC.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, ABC garnered the highest total number of viewers at nearly 3.3 million, followed by CNN with 3.05 million viewers. Nearly 1 million of CNN’s viewers were adults between ages 25 and 54, beating out every other network in this category.

Because the hearing started at 10 a.m. ― during typical work hours ― many people watched digitally. There’s no official tally of those viewers, but 3.9 million people started streaming CNN’s broadcast of the hearing, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Comey’s dramatic testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee garnered significant buzz in the days leading up to it, prompting some companies to cancel meetings during the time slot and dozens of bars to host viewing parties.

During the roughly 2.5-hour hearing, Comey described what he called “concerning” and “awkward” behavior from President Donald Trump over the last few months. Comey alleged the president requested “loyalty” during a private dinner and directed him to drop an FBI investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

The juicy testimony spawned an array of cultural memes and prompted thousands to live-tweet the event, including celebrities.

This #comeyhearing is utterly fascinating. WOW. Also, I love our Senator @KamalaHarris.

— Mandy Moore (@TheMandyMoore) June 8, 2017

Trump’s inauguration drew an estimated 30.6 million television viewers ― so the president can rest easy knowing he pulled in higher ratings than his adversary. President Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration drew 37.8 million viewers, in contrast.

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