Special coverage of the report Thursday morning averaged about 10.7 million viewers across the three big cable news networks — Fox News, MSNBC and CNN — and broadcast nets ABC and CBS, according to preliminary Nielsen figures. (NBC’s numbers weren’t available as of publication time.)
Fox News led the pack with an average of 2.78 million viewers from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET. CBS, which cut off its coverage at noon, drew 2.54 million, followed by ABC with 2.22 million. MSNBC averaged a little more than 2 million viewers and CNN, 1.17 million.
The broadcast networks topped the key news demographic of adults 25-54, with ABC (493,000 viewers in that age group) and CBS (471,000) beating the 441,000 for Fox News. Fox’s demo audience led its cable competition by a sizable margin, as MSNBC had 307,000 adults 25-54 and CNN 286,000.
The cable news networks were all above average during their special reports, but the Mueller report’s release was not as big a TV draw as some other recent events that drew blanket coverage — including a couple that figured into the special counsel’s investigation.
Coverage of former Donald Trump lawyer Michael Cohen’s congressional testimony in February, for instance, averaged 16 million viewers. Back in 2017, former FBI director James Comey’s testimony about his firing drew 19.5 million.