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Trump Guilty Verdict Draws Big Ratings for TV News

Trump Guilty Verdict Draws Big Ratings for TV News

TV news coverage of former president Donald Trump‘s guilty verdict in a New York trial drew a big crowd Thursday.

More than 16 million viewers watched coverage of the verdict — cameras aren’t allowed in New York state courtrooms — on the three big cable news channels (CNN, Fox News and MSNBC) and broadcast networks ABC and CBS, based on early Nielsen ratings. Ratings figures for NBC weren’t available at publication time, but it’s likely they’ll push the audience above 18 million when added to the other networks’ totals.

Trump was found guilty on all 34 counts of falsifying business records as part of a hush-money scheme to prevent news of his sexual encounter with adult film actress Stormy Daniels from leaking before the 2016 election. The charges are class E felonies, the lowest level of felony crime in New York; sentencing is scheduled for July 11.

Fox News drew the biggest audience in the 5 p.m. ET hour, when the verdict was read, averaging 4.43 million viewers. MSNBC came in second with 3.42 million viewers, followed by ABC (3.34 million), CBS (2.5 million) and CNN (2.38 million). All three cable networks were well above their usual averages for the hour — The Five typically draws about 3 million viewers for Fox News, while both MSNBC and CNN more than doubled their typical audience.

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