President Donald Trump’s 2020 State of the Union address was the least viewed of his presidency.
According to Nielsen’s ratings , Trump’s third State of the Union address, and the Democratic response drew about 37.2 million viewers across 12 networks. In 2019, the State of the Union’s audience was significantly larger with 46.8 million viewers across 12 networks, an increase from 2018’s 45.6 million viewers, according to Nielsen.
Trump’s highest-rated State of the Union was his first 2017 address which drew 48 million viewers.
The drop is nearly a 21 percent decrease from 2019.
The Fox News Channel garnered the most viewers with 11.5 million. Of the four major networks, NBC saw the most viewers with 4.8 million, while CBS followed close behind with about 4.7 million viewers. ABC had 4.1 million viewers. Fox’s broadcast network had a total of 3.5 million viewers. Cable news networks CNN and MSNBC both managed to bring in over 2 million viewers, while Fox Business Network received over just half a million viewers, according to The Hollywood Reporter .
Prior to the State of the Union, NBC and Fox both aired new episodes of network shows to season highs. NBC aired Ellen’s Game of Games for 5 million viewers, while Fox showed 24 Hours to Hell and Back , which received 3.06 million viewers. CBS ran an NCIS rerun, while ABC showed reruns of The Conners and Bless This Mess.
The Wrap reported Univision, The CW, and Telemundo trailed behind the four major networks in the same block. Univision ranked fifth with 1.2 million viewers. CW received 1.04 million viewers and Telemundo had 1.02 million viewers.
The CW showed new episodes of popular shows before and during the address. The network drew 1.3 million viewers showing The Flash at 8 p.m. ET, and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow had 788,000 viewers.
Trump delivered his address the night before the Senate convened and ultimately acquitted the president from charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress following his impeachment by the House of Representatives in December 2019. According to Deadline , former President Bill Clinton’s 1999 State of the Union drew an audience of 43.5 million viewers across ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, and NBC before he was acquitted for his own impeachment. Former President Barack Obama drew a total of 42.8 million viewers, during his third State of the Union in 2011.
Despite controversy surrounding Trump snubbing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a handshake and Pelosi tearing up the president’s speech after the address, Trump tweeted that the State of the Union was “a great and triumphant evening for our Country.”
“Thank you for all of the nice remarks and wonderful reviews of my State of the Union Speech,” he wrote. “It was my great honor to have done it!”
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