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Joe Biden Beats Donald Trump Again As 2021 Inaugural Viewership Tops 2017; CNN Leads Cable Newsers & Big 4 – Update

Ted Johnson and Dominic Patten
·2-min read

UPDATED with more data: Joe Biden now has beaten Donald Trump twice.

With data from the cable newsers and the broadcast networks now in from Nielsen, the inauguration of the 46th POTUS topped that of the 45th. Across CNN, MSNBC, Fox News Channel, ABC, NBC and CBS, the 11:45-12: 15 PM ET swearing in ceremony of Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris was seen by about 40 million viewers.

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That’s a more than 1.5 million jump over what the bragging former Celebrity Apprentice host pulled in back in 2017 for his oath of office and prophetic declaration of “American carnage.”

Yesterday CNN was No. 1 in the pivotal half-hour with an audience of around 10 million. FNC took a big drop from its top spot of four years ago with 11.8 million viewers, falling to sixth place with a small audience of just 2.7 million of its primarily conservative viewership tuning in.

CNN also was the top network throughout the day, averaging 7.7 million viewers from 11 AM ET to 4 PM ET. ABC averaged 5.37 million, followed by MSNBC with 5.33 million, NBC with 4.71 million, CBS with 4.13 million and Fox News with 2.17 million.

CNN even topped in viewership of the primetime inaugural concert Celebrating America, drawing 6.68 million viewers, followed by MSNBC with 4.41 million, NBC with 3.86 million, ABC with 3.66 million and CBS with 3.04 million. Fox News did not carry the concert but drew 3.21 million in the time frame.

CNN also topped other cable news networks in another measurement — the wider 11 AM to 1 PM ET time frame. The AT&T-owned outlet drew 9.67 million viewers, compared with 6.42 million for MSNBC and 2.8 million for Fox News. The figures also include out-of-home viewing.

More complete numbers across broadcast and cable networks are expected to be released over the next couple of days. The Biden-Harris inauguration was carried across broadcast and cable networks along with streaming platforms. There also was a primetime concert, Celebrating America, that was carried on ABC, CBS, NBC, Spectrum, PBS, CNN, CNBC, BET and MSNBC.

CNN said that its viewership was its biggest inauguration audience in its history.

The viewership also was a reversal of sorts from 2017, when Fox News drew an average of 10.5 million total viewers, which set a record. Four years ago, CNN ranked fifth among the networks in inauguration viewership.

‘Celebrating America’ TV Review: Tom Hanks-Hosted Biden Inauguration Special Proves A Solemn & Successful Affair

The highest-rated inauguration over the past 50 years was Ronald Reagan’s in 1981, an event that drew an average of 41.8 million viewers in the three-network era.

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