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Extended Election Coverage Provides Ratings Boost

Six networks combined to draw 21 million viewers at the time of the official announcement that Joe Biden had won the presidency. Fox Sports executive vice president Michael Mulvihill had indicated, via overnight ratings, that the number of households combined across those six outlets increased 78 percent from an 11.5 rating at 11 a.m. ET to a 20.5 rating at noon ET.

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As noted in our ratings post from last week, CNN, Fox News Channel and MSNBC all benefited from the protracted proceedings of election results coverage, with close voting total margins in Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona and Nevada.

Joe Biden gave a preliminary speech from Delaware on Friday, Nov. 6 at just before 11 p.m. ET when results indicated he would be on the verge of victory. Across six networks (the three major cable news outlets plus the Big 3: ABC, CBS and NBC), 22.2 million viewers tuned in, with CNN (6.27 million viewers) as the top outlet, followed by MSNBC (4.94 million), Fox News (4.21 million), CBS (2.38 million), ABC (2.25 million) and NBC (2.15 million).

Twelve hours later, at about 11:30 a.m. ET on Saturday, Nov. 7, all major news outlets (with CNN as the first) confirmed that the Biden-Harris ticket had officially won the state of Pennsylvania and thus, surpassing the 270 electoral votes needed to secure victory. The aforementioned six networks combined to draw 21 million viewers at the time of that official announcement. Fox Sports executive vice president Michael Mulvihill had indicated, via overnight ratings, that the number of households combined across those six outlets increased 78 percent from an 11.5 rating at 11 a.m. ET to a 20.5 rating at noon ET.

For CNN, the audience figure track went, as follows:

  • 10 a.m. ET: 3.771 million viewers
  • 11 a.m. ET: 5.783 million viewers
  • Noon ET: 7.47 million viewers
  • 1 p.m. ET: 7.181 million viewers
  • 2-3 p.m. ET: 6.108 million viewers

Approximately 35 million Americans tuned in later that Saturday at about 8:30 p.m. ET for the speeches by President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. Much like the previous night and that morning, CNN was No. 1, attracting 13.5 million viewers (from 8-9 p.m. ET). MSNBC (9 million from 8:28-8 p.m. ET) was runner-up, followed by CBS (6.15 million). ABC (4.73 million), NBC (4.52 million) and Fox (1.60 million) interrupted their sports telecasts to broadcast the speeches but did not devote the entire 8:30-9:00 p.m. half-hour to coverage. Indicative of those who watch Fox News Channel, FNC (2.99 million from 8-9 p.m. ET) was nowhere near among the most-watched outlets that night.

1.82 million tuned in to the Spanish-language version of Harris’ and Biden’s speeches on Telemundo from 8:30-9 p.m. ET; 952,000 saw them on Univision from 8:28-8:59 p.m. ET.

In late night, NBC’s “Saturday Night Live”, hosted by Dave Chappelle and had featured Jim Carrey and Maya Rudolph in a parody of Biden-Harris speeches during the cold open, averaged 9.06 million total viewers, according to Nielsen’s Live Plus Same Day data. With a 2.62 rating in adults 18-49, the Nov. 7 “SNL” was the top entertainment telecast (excluding news and sports) since the Oscars (5.33 rating) from Feb. 9. Additionally, it’s the highest-rated (again, based on the 18-49 demo) comedy telecast since the series finale of CBS sitcom “The Big Bang Theory” (3.23 rating) from May 16, 2019.

With most of last week featuring coverage of 2020 election results, CNN led all cable networks in both viewers and adults 25-54. For the week ending Nov. 8, 2020 in total day data (from 6 a.m. to 5:59 a.m. each day), CNN averaged 3.57 million total viewers and 1.42 million adults 25-54.

Fox News Channel was in the unusual position of ranking behind CNN, drawing 3.15 million viewers and 897,000 adults 25-54 — still, a potent runner-up in all of cable. MSNBC (2.66 million viewers, 665,000 adults 25-54) took third place.

The three major cable news networks have exhibited significant increases from the week that featured the elections of four years ago (Nov. 7-13, 2016):

  • MSNBC: +146% (2.66 million vs. 1.08 million viewers)
  • CNN: +95% (3.57 million vs. 1.83 million viewers)
  • Fox News: +9% (3.15 million vs. 2.88 million viewers)

Top 30 most-watched cable news programs of Election Week 2020 in total viewers:

1. Fox News Democracy 2020 (FOXNC, Tue. 11/3/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 14.534 million viewers

2. Fox News Democracy 2020 (FOXNC, Tue. 11/3/2020 10:00 PM, 60 min.) 14.397 million viewers

3. Fox News Democracy 2020 (FOXNC, Tue. 11/3/2020 11:00 PM, 60 min.) 13.598 million viewers

4. Election Night in America-Continued (CNN, Sat. 11/7/2020 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 13.503 million viewers

5. Fox News Democracy 2020 (FOXNC, Tue. 11/3/2020 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 13.332 million viewers

6. Fox News Democracy 2020 (FOXNC, Tue. 11/3/2020 12:00 AM, 60 min.) 11.502 million viewers

7. Fox News Democracy 2020 (FOXNC, Tue. 11/3/2020 7:00 PM, 60 min.) 10.253 million viewers

8. Election Night In America (CNN, Tue. 11/3/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 9.728 million viewers

9. Election Night In America (CNN, Tue. 11/3/2020 10:00 PM, 60 min.) 9.319 million viewers

10. Election Night In America (CNN, Tue. 11/3/2020 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 9.181 million viewers

11. MSNBC Special Coverage (MSNBC, Sat. 11/7/2020 8:28 PM, 32 min.) 9.005 million viewers

12. Election Night in America-Continued (CNN, Sat. 11/7/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 8.660 million viewers

13. Election Night In America (CNN, Tue. 11/3/2020 11:00 PM, 60 min.) 8.493 million viewers

14. Election Night in America-Continued (CNN, Wed. 11/4/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 7.923 million viewers

15. Fox News Democracy 2020 (FOXNC, Tue. 11/3/2020 1:00 AM, 60 min.) 7.900 million viewers

16. Election Night in America-Continued (CNN, Wed. 11/4/2020 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 7.797 million viewers

17. Decision 2020 (MSNBC, Tue. 11/3/2020 8:00 PM, 180 min.) 7.630 million viewers

18. Election Night in America-Continued (CNN, Thu. 11/5/2020 7:00 PM, 60 min.) 7.613 million viewers

19. Election Night in America-Continued (CNN, Sat. 11/7/2020 12:00 PM, 60 min.) 7.470 million viewers

20. Election Night In America (CNN, Tue. 11/3/2020 7:00 PM, 60 min.) 7.359 million viewers

21. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Wed. 11/4/2020 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 7.344 million viewers

22. Election Night in America-Continued (CNN, Sat. 11/7/2020 1:00 PM, 60 min.) 7.181 million viewers

23. Hannity (FOXNC, Wed. 11/4/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 6.904 million viewers

24. Fox News Democracy 2020 (FOXNC, Tue. 11/3/2020 6:00 PM, 60 min.) 6.849 million viewers

25. Election Night in America-Continued (CNN, Wed. 11/4/2020 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 6.817 million viewers

26. Election Night in America-Continued (CNN, Sat. 11/7/2020 7:00 PM, 60 min.) 6.796 million viewers

27. Election Night in America-Continued (CNN, Wed. 11/4/2020 7:00 PM, 60 min.) 6.717 million viewers

28. Election Night in America-Continued (CNN, Thu. 11/5/2020 10:00 PM, 60 min.) 6.666 million viewers

29. Election Night in America-Continued (CNN, Thu. 11/5/2020 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 6.607 million viewers

30. The Five (FOXNC, Wed. 11/4/2020 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 6.564 million viewers

Top 30 most-watched cable news programs of Election Week 2020 among adults 25-54:

1. Election Night in America-Continued (CNN, Sat. 11/7/2020 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 5.357 million adults 25-54

2. Fox News Democracy 2020 (FOXNC, Tue. 11/3/2020 10:00 PM, 60 min.) 5.295 million adults 25-54

3. Fox News Democracy 2020 (FOXNC, Tue. 11/3/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 5.284 million adults 25-54

4. Fox News Democracy 2020 (FOXNC, Tue. 11/3/2020 11:00 PM, 60 min.) 5.249 million adults 25-54

5. Election Night In America (CNN, Tue. 11/3/2020 10:00 PM, 60 min.) 4.739 million adults 25-54

6. Fox News Democracy 2020 (FOXNC, Tue. 11/3/2020 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 4.696 million adults 25-54

7. Election Night In America (CNN, Tue. 11/3/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 4.662 million adults 25-54

8. Fox News Democracy 2020 (FOXNC, Tue. 11/3/2020 12:00 AM, 60 min.) 4.654 million adults 25-54

9. Election Night In America (CNN, Tue. 11/3/2020 11:00 PM, 60 min.) 4.369 million adults 25-54

10. Election Night In America (CNN, Tue. 11/3/2020 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 4.360 million adults 25-54

11. Election Night in America-Continued (CNN, Wed. 11/4/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.445 million adults 25-54

12. Election Night in America-Continued (CNN, Sat. 11/7/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.432 million adults 25-54

13. Election Night in America-Continued (CNN, Wed. 11/4/2020 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.421 million adults 25-54

14. Election Night In America (CNN, Tue. 11/3/2020 7:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.388 million adults 25-54

15. Fox News Democracy 2020 (FOXNC, Tue. 11/3/2020 7:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.357 million adults 25-54

16. Fox News Democracy 2020 (FOXNC, Tue. 11/3/2020 1:00 AM, 60 min.) 3.230 million adults 25-54

17. Election Night In America (CNN, Tue. 11/3/2020 12:00 AM, 60 min.) 3.213 million adults 25-54

18. Election Night in America-Continued (CNN, Thu. 11/5/2020 7:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.130 million adults 25-54

19. Election Night in America-Continued (CNN, Wed. 11/4/2020 7:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.068 million adults 25-54

20. Election Night in America-Continued (CNN, Thu. 11/5/2020 10:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.067 million adults 25-54

21. Election Night in America-Continued (CNN, Thu. 11/5/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.018 million adults 25-54

22. Election Night in America-Continued (CNN, Sat. 11/7/2020 12:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.941 million adults 25-54

23. Election Night in America-Continued (CNN, Thu. 11/5/2020 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.939 million adults 25-54

24. Election Night in America-Continued (CNN, Wed. 11/4/2020 10:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.939 million adults 25-54

25. Election Night in America-Continued (CNN, Wed. 11/4/2020 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.877 million adults 25-54

26. Election Night in America-Continued (CNN, Wed. 11/4/2020 6:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.869 million adults 25-54

27. Election Night in America-Continued (CNN, Sat. 11/7/2020 1:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.809 million adults 25-54

28. Election Night in America-Continued (CNN, Thu. 11/5/2020 11:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.778 million adults 25-54

29. Election Night in America-Continued (CNN, Fri. 11/6/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.729 million adults 25-54

30. Election Night in America-Continued (CNN, Fri. 11/6/2020 10:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.683 million adults 25-54

33. Decision 2020 (MSNBC, Tue. 11/3/2020 8:00 PM, 180 min.) 2.524 million adults 25-54

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BNM Writers

No Replacing Rush

There never will be a big, bold voice like Rush that can deliver the way he did for so many years.

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After the passing of conservative talk media icon Rush Limbaugh, I labored with what kind of piece I was going to write on the subject.

I certainly wasn’t going to pen a flowery, sentimental column.  Not that I take offense to anyone that did. It’s just that the internet was going to be full of them and all from people who listened to Limbaugh far more than I ever did. 

I wanted to do something that was more proactive and looked forward.

I was going to wait a couple of weeks, let the deluge of memorials and tributes to come in, and then I was going to submit a piece that I have been quietly working on for some time:

THE TOP CANDIDATES TO REPLACE RUSH LIMBAUGH.

I had a list of people that I felt, as a former programmer, were great talents and ideal fits to sit in front of the “Golden EIB Network Microphone.”

As I usually do, I made a slew of phone calls to my contacts at iHeart and in different talk radio circles, to gage their opinion on my list of candidates.

I didn’t get more than a few conversations in before I realized that the column I was about to write was fool’s gold.

The reality is…there is no replacement for Rush Limbaugh. There never will be.

Oh, don’t get me wrong.  iHeart will eventually have to figure out something to offer the hundreds of EIB affiliates throughout the country from 12-3p ET/9a-12p PT.  Maybe it’s Buck Sexton.  Maybe Clay Travis makes the pilgrimage from sports to news (which, by the way, I think would be an intriguing choice).  Maybe Tucker Carlson can be lured away from all the projects he’s working on for Fox News.  Maybe it’s a combination of different people offered to different regions of the country.

No matter who gets to replace him in that timeslot, Rush Limbaugh left a void that can never be filled.

This truth has been staring us in the face for quite some time.

IF IT COULD’VE HAPPENED, IT WOULD HAVE BY NOW

Rush did not die suddenly.  His terminal illness had been known for some time.  Even before that, iHeart (and EIB affiliates) have been wrangling with the question of, “Is there life after Rush?” 

Many thought that Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck and even Ben Shapiro could be the heir apparent.  However, none of them could command the high dollar rights fees that Rush affiliates were paying.  How high?  An EIB affiliate that I am very familiar with negotiated DOWN their yearly rights fee to a little over $100k recently.  That was getting a discount.

Not to mention, many conservative voices have all found greener pastures on the digital frontier.  Beck has made a fortune building The Blaze.  Shapiro turned The Daily Wire into a profitable, growing content platform that has attracted high dollar investors. 

Why would they want to replace Rush?  They don’t NEED the money or exposure.  Plus, as the old saying goes, you never want to follow a legend.

WE’RE IN A DIFFERENT ERA

Ryan Williams, a Republican strategist and press aide to Mitt Romney, summed up the current situation perfectly in a recent article in the New York Times:

“There’s so many different platforms to interact with conservative voices, and there are so many more voices.  If you’re pro-Trump, you’ve got Breitbart and Newsmax. If you’re more of a moderate Republican, you’ve got The Bulwark and Charlie Sykes. I follow 25-, 26-year-old conservatives on Instagram who are sharing two-minute videos that young people connect with personally.  I don’t think you’ll see it ever again where one person is the king of this realm.”

Exactly.

The media landscape is far more cluttered today and that trend is only going to continue.  There are multiple voices for every flavor of Republican out there and all of them are available on demand.   Because of that, no one person can take the mantle of “King of All Conservative Media”.  In a way, Rush has already been replaced, not by one person, but by many others who were likely influenced by his success.

Williams also makes a great point when talking about young talent and younger consumers.  Those who fit into the Millennial or Gen Z classes don’t have the attention span to listen to a 3-hour radio show, regardless of it being live or on-demand.  Short from programming delivered on social media channels such as YouTube or Instagram have not only proven to be more popular with people of those generations, but also drives far more engagement. 

WHAT CAN AFFILIATES DO?

At some point, “the long goodbye” that is being offered to Rush affiliates will end. 

So, if you are one of them, what should you be doing?

You have two choices: hope or be proactive.

You can hope that iHeart will offer you a palatable replacement.   You can hope that there is another syndicated show you can time-shift or slide into Rush’s old timeslot.

However, as a colleague of mine once told me, “hope is not a strategy”. 

Stations should be taking the money they were paying Rush and re-investing it into building out local programming.   

Sure, the popular decision will be to take the tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars in expense and put it back towards the bottom line.  That’s the safe play.

As I’ve argued before, now is a great time to not be safe, but to be bold. Take that money, or even a PORTION of that money, and GO LOCAL.

Find a talent that connects to your audience and build out their brand to better your own.

There are conservative voices out there, its all a matter of finding them and grooming them to be great.  Maybe it’s a former political official…like Joe Scarborough.  Maybe it’s a talented youngster who volunteers at the local college radio station…like Sean Hannity.  Maybe its an ivy league educated writer and author like Ben Shapiro.  Maybe it’s a tandem that has good chemistry together.

Talent is out there.  It’s on local stations to find it and cultivate it.

There never will be a big, bold voice like Rush that can deliver the way he did for so many years.  That era of spoken-word media is over. It’s on individual radio brands to find their own way.

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BNM Writers

Joe Biden, Already a Failure

In Bill O’Reilly’s opinion, the honeymoon is over. National chaos and pain are only beginning to kick in. Even if the media refuses to share the facts.

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Photo by U.S. Embassy Jerusalem CC BY 2.0.

It may be only six weeks, but that is plenty to offer an early report card.

The grade – F.

Bill O’Reilly didn’t mince words when he joined the Glenn Beck Radio Show on Friday. When asked what the week’s biggest news story was, O’Reilly said it was the early and clear failure of President Joe Biden.

“I said I would give Joe Biden a chance because he asked for one,and in our Judeo-Christian tradition, if somebody asks you for a chance, and they’re not a convicted felon, you give them a chance” O’Reilly said. “But after six weeks, we have absolute pandemonium in the country.”

The hard-hitting O’Reilly laid into Biden, criticizing the President’s change in border policy, which effectively invites illegal immigrants to flood America’s borders.  

“How exactly is it helping the country to allow undocumented people to cross into the United States, request asylum, hand them $1100 in cash so they can go anywhere they want, and not test them for Covid,” he asked.

O’Reilly noted that 106 undocumented people tested positive for Covid-19 in one day alone. 

According to Beck, 6% of illegal border-crossers have tested positive for Covid-19, and he added “I’d rather have children locked in cages, as they say, that are protected, waiting for someone to claim them that can be clearly tested to be a parent or a relative, rather than this system now of colored wristbands by the mob and the cartels down across the border, that are smuggling these children into America, clearly for the sex trade.”

O’Reilly has spent much of this week, both on his website BillO’Reilly.com and in interviews, such as this one with Beck, detailing the 180 degree difference between the immigration policies of former President Donald Trump and the new Biden administration. He and his guests, such as Trump immigration advisor Stephen Miller, have documented how children are being smuggled across the border into the United States, after which authorities are helping them locate and bring over their parents and families as well. He added, “it is absolutely astounding, and the reason it’s happening is because the media does not report it. So people listening to us now don’t live on the border, they don’t know what’s happening. This is going to lead, in the next two years, to hundreds of thousands of undocumented people coming into the United States.”

The push to help Americans see the impending danger from the administration’s radical change of course came at the same time Trump voiced his anger and concern about the effects of these extreme policies, which favor non-citizens over Americans.

“The spiraling tsunami at the border is overwhelming local communities, depleting budgets, crowding hospitals, and taking jobs from legal American workers,” the former President said. “When I left office, we had achieved the most secure border in our country’s history. Under Biden, it will soon be worse, more dangerous and more out of control than ever before. He has violated his oath of office to uphold our Constitution and enforce our laws.”

Trump continued, saying “Our border is now totally out of control thanks to the disastrous leadership of Joe Biden. Our great Border Patrol and ICE agents have been disrespected, demeaned, and mocked by the Biden administration. A mass incursion into the country by people who should not be here is happening on an hourly basis, getting worse by the minute.”

Bill O’Reilly has been one of the most vocal news personalities informing the country about the crisis in recent days, pointing out what many see as the resulting deleterious effect on America’s economy and neighborhoods. His urgency stems from the media’s common suppression tactic of hiding negative impacts of the policies of their protected class of Democrat politicians. He adds, “nobody will know, because the media blacks it out.”

The way O’Reilly sees it, there are three developing trends that will eventually combine to crush Biden’s approval ratings and turn public opinion decisively against him.

“The economy, and you’re seeing a shaky stock market now. Immigration, and cancel culture,” O’Reilly listed as the big three areas where Americans are beginning to feel the negative effects of radical Democratic policy shifts. “Those three things are going to undermine his administration. But here’s the really frightening part about it – if you, and me, and Stu were talking to President Biden right now he could not explain, and does not know, what is happening on that border. He does not have the capacity, in my humble opinion, to absorb information and analyze anything.”

In Bill O’Reilly’s opinion, the honeymoon is over. National chaos and pain are only beginning to kick in. Even if the media refuses to share the facts.

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BNM Writers

Winterble, Daugherty Discuss Dr. Seuss, Cancel Culture

“We lost a battle for sure,” Daugherty said. “Did we lose the war? I don’t know. I hope to heck not.”

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Photo by Evelyn Giggles CC BY 2.0.

After moving from the San Diego to Charlotte market last year, radio host Brett Winterble has quickly learned that the best way to attract listeners in the Tar Heel state is to forge a connection with college basketball. That’s why former North Carolina Tar Heel basketball coach Matt Daugherty is a frequent quest on The Brett Wintertble Show which airs on WBT AM in Charlotte. Daugherty was in studio again on Thursday, and while the pair did touch on sports topics, the main part of their conversation was devoted to Dr. Seuss and cancel culture in general.

”You look like a guy who read Dr. Seuss as a kid,” Winterble said to Daughtery. “My favorites growing up were, One Fish, Two Fish and of course the classic, Green Eggs and Ham. I read them and my kids read them, but now all of a sudden, they are too dangerous. Dr. Seuss has been banned. Our glorious monarch, King Joe Biden I has decreed that Dr. Seuss cannot be read at a celebration of Dr. Seuss Day. Five weeks ago they were just fine, but now they are too dangerous to even be sold on Ebay? What in the world is going on? Have we as conservatives lost the war?”

Winterble’s comments come after six of Theodor Geisel’s works are no longer going to be published due to racial stereotypes. Geisel wrote more than 60 other books under his popular pseudonym Dr. Seuss which will still remain in print, but that does not stop Winterble and Daugherty from claiming Dr. Seuss is a victim of cancel culture.

“We lost a battle for sure,” Daugherty said. “Did we lose the war? I don’t know. I hope to heck not.”

Winterble makes the comparison to other items sold on Ebay, but yet six Dr. Seuss books are banned.

“You can go on there and buy a poster of a certain political leader that ruled Germany in the 30’s and 40’s (Hitler), but Dr. Seuss is too dangerous? You can go on there and buy polyurethane items that should only be used in the hushed tones of the bedroom and yet people find Dr. Seuss objectionable? What’s next?”

Daugherty worries that cancel culture will eventually cross over into the world of sports.

“I think we will eventually start erasing players from the Hall of Fames,” he said. “Now of course, there were some scoundrels, particularly in baseball, but you can’t just erase that history. You can learn from it, but you can’t remove it.”

“I love working with young people,” Daugherty continued. “I always tell them to stand up for what you believe in, but to be a good leader, you also have to be able to listen. It seems we have lost that art of debate. We see plenty of argument, but people rarely make a point and then take the time to listen to the other side. If you can do that, you learn something. A lot of it has to do with dialogue happening over social media instead of face-to-face. 50 percent of communication is body language. You can’t see that on Twitter. It’s so much easier to cancel someone or throw out zingers if you can’t look them in the eye and see how much it hurts them.”

Winterble agrees and also urges open discussion if something is considered offensive or harmful.

“People have their identity so wrapped up in whatever issue it is, that when someone attacks the issue, it feels like they are attacking the person. There is some value in all of these things (like the Dr. Seuss controversy), but the default position should not be to rage quit and erase everything.”

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