About 20 million viewers reportedly tuned in to watch Thursday night’s opening statements from the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, uprising at the United States Capitol.
The major networks aired live prime-time coverage, where ABC drew 4.8 million viewers, according to Nielsen’s notes. NBC, which drew 3.5 million viewers, narrowly edged out CBS. Others tuned into cable channels, including CNN and MSNBC, to listen to gripping testimonies from witnesses who were in Washington, D.C., when extremists loyal to former President Donald Trump tried to block the certification of President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory.
More than 4 million viewers tuned into MSNBC to follow the hearing.
Nielsen’s figures do not include viewers who were able to tune in online.
Not only did Fox News Channel air its regular programming on Thursday, it showed no commercials during the hearing, according to Mediate.com. Fox News did not return a request for comment amid speculation anchors Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity took no breaks for fear their viewers would change stations.
The right-wing cable operation aired the historic proceedings on its Fox Business network, which The Hill said drew 223,000 viewers.
Hannity was mentioned in the hearings by Republican committee member Liz Cheney. He, along with host Laura Ingraham, texted Trump’s chief of staff during the attack on the Capitol, urging Trump to order the insurgents out of the Capitol, then told his audience that he wouldn’t was unclear who was responsible for the chaos.
Fox News drew 3 million prime-time viewers on Thursday, according to Nielsen.
In 2020, Nielsen said more than 37 million viewers tuned in to watch former President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address. President Biden’s SOTU speech was seen on over 38 million televisions. When the two men debated, their first argument drew 73 million viewers, while 63 million tuned in to the rematch.
Congressional hearings on the insurgency will resume Monday at 10 a.m.