TV viewing of former FBI Director James Comey's Senate committee hearing on Thursday resulted in soaring daytime TV viewership, with four networks near a tie at the top.
Two broadcast networks scored the best: ABC pulling in a Nielsen 3.295 million viewers and CBS at 3.286 million viewers. Cable news networks Fox News Channel and CNN were next -- Fox with 3.104 million and CNN at 3.059 million.
ABC and CBS each grabbed a 17% share of total viewing of the coverage during the time period of the hearing -- 10 p.m. to 1 p.m ET. Fox News and CNN, each had a 16% share.
MSNBC and NBC were next with 2.737 million and 2.723 million total viewers, respectively. Each had a 14% share. Univision had 624,000 viewers (3%); Fox Business Network, 233,000 (1%); and CNBC, 184,000 (1%).
Many networks posted strong results versus their usual daytime viewers -- anywhere from 50% to 100% or more higher. Fox News was up 131% in total viewers for the 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. time period.
CNN dominated in key 25-54 new viewers for the hearing, with 1.017 million. NBC tallied 859,000; ABC, 854,000; CBS, 784,000; MSNBC, 633,000 and Fox News Channel, 600,000.
Factoring in all after-testimony news analysis on the networks -- total day Nielsen viewing -- Fox News was tops with 2.091 million total viewers; MSNBC, was next, 1.678 million; and CNN was at 1.552 million.
CNN claimed the best total day 25-54 viewers, at 529,000. Fox News came in at 438,000 and MSNBC had 420,000.
Two cable news network shows were neck and neck for best prime-time honors: Fox News “Hannity” earning 3.351 million viewers and MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” with 3.349 million viewers.
After this came Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight” at 3.287 million; CNN’s “At This Hour,” 3.230 million; and CNN’s “Inside Politics,” 3.015 million.
Overall cable news network prime-time coverage, from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m., had Fox News at 3.181 million, followed by MSNBC with 2.757 million and CNN at 1.705 million.