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Viewers Flocked To MSNBC As News Of Trump Indictment Broke In Primetime

Jul 23, 2023Jul 23, 2023

News of former President Donald Trump's indictment on four federal charges Tuesday afternoon sent cable news watchers decidedly to MSNBC as the network racked up 2.6 million viewers and trounced both CNN and Fox News in primetime.

Rachel Maddow, host of The Rachel Maddow Show, on Friday, February 5, 2016. Photo by Cassi Alexandra

The news broke at around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday and brought primetime viewers to cable news networks in droves: 2.2 million turned on Fox News and 1 million turned to CNN, ratings show.

On dominant MSNBC, Rachel Maddow took over the 8 p.m. hour and drew 2.8 million viewers before her 9 p.m. slot also dominated the hour with 2.6 million watchers and the 10 p.m. slot, which was hosted by Lawrence O’Donnell with a Maddow assist, drew 2.4 million.

Fox News viewers’ most-watched primetime show Tuesday was the 8 p.m. hour with Jesse Waters, which saw 2.45 million watchers Tuesday, followed by 2.2 million in the 9 p.m. hour and 1.9 at 10 p.m.

CNN saw 1.1 million viewers at 8 p.m. and 1 million at 9 p.m.Tuesday’s viewership was a break from the norm—Fox News usually dominates cable news viewership and has enjoyed a yearly primetime average of 1.8 million viewers, compared to 1.1 million for MSNBC and 692,000 for CNN.

The Rachel Maddow Show is usually MSNBC’s lone bright spot in cable rankings: Her show was the only non-Fox show to break into the top 10 most-viewed last week and, the week before, Maddow and the NASCAR race at Pocono were the only non-Fox News shows in the top 18 most-watched on cable.

Supporters of former US President Donald Trump, ride a replica of the Presidential limousine, ... [+] outside the E. Barrett Prettyman US Courthouse in Washington, DC, on August 3, 2023, ahead of Trump's arraignment. Photo by Stefani Reynolds

Former President Donald Trump was charged with four federal crimes Tuesday related to his efforts to stay in office after losing the 2020 election. In a 45-page indictment, Trump is accused of pursuing “unlawful means of discounting legitimate votes and subverting the election results," and is also said to have “directly pressured” then-Vice President Mike Pence to fraudulently reject President Joe Biden’s win when Congress met to certify the election results on January 6. Prosecutors said Trump repeatedly lied about voter fraud in states like Arizona and Georgia, and crossed the line into illegal behavior when he challenged the election results and spread false voter fraud claims. Trump was charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy against rights of citizens, obstructing an official proceeding and conspiring to obstruct an official proceeding. It is his third set of criminal charges since leaving office.

Trump’s arraignment. The ex-president has been ordered to appear in federal court in Washington, D.C. at 4 p.m. Thursday, where he is largely expected to plead not guilty to the charges against him.

Protester Domenic Santana of Miami, Florida, holds a sign outside the E. Barrett Prettyman United ... [+] States Courthouse August 3, 2023 in Washington, DC. Photo by Alex Wong

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