In the run-up to the watershed 2016 election, former President Donald Trump drove cable news networks to record ratings.
At least early on, the 2024 election cycle is shaping up differently.
Trump's latest “town hall” appearance on Fox News Channel Thursday averaged only 2.78 million viewers, down more than a half-million viewers from a similar appearance on cable-news rival CNN three weeks earlier.
According to Nielsen figures reported by Mediaite, the Fox News town hall, moderated by Sean Hannity, averaged 320,000 viewers in the core 25-54 demo — less than half of the 781,000 demo viewers averaged for the May 10 CNN primetime event.
The former president has been steadily trending downward over the years.
As Mediaite noted, Trump's previous six town hall events on Fox News delivered respective audiences of 5.1 million, 4.4 million, 4.2 million, 3.8 million, 3.5 million and 3.2 million viewers.
Over at CNN, meanwhile, no one seems to be boasting.
On Friday, The Atlantic posted a damning portrait of CNN chief Chris Licht, who in addition to facing cratering ratings is now dealing with a serious newsroom morale problem in the wake of Trump’s May appearance.
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Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!