President Obama’s final chance to roast celebrities, journos and politicos at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner produced strong ratings for CNN on Saturday night.
The annual event, in which reporters mingle with a mix of administration officials, lawmakers and Hollywood and sports stars, averaged 2.313 million viewers from 9 to 11:30 p.m. ET, according to Nielsen — more than double the tune-in for last year (1.031 million). MSNBC’s coverage drew 687,000 from 9 to 11:09 p.m. ET, while Fox News Channel averaged 1.2 million viewers for its coverage from 10-11:13 p.m. ET. (Ratings are not released for C-SPAN, which aired the entire evening’s events, including red-carpet coverage.)
Specifically in the 10 p.m. hour, which featured Obama’s speech, CNN drew 3 million viewers. FNC ran second with 1.2 million, and MSNBC was third with 945,000.
In the key news demo of adults 25-54 for the 10 p.m. hour, CNN (771,000) beat the combined tune-in of Fox News Channel (238,000) and MSNBC (212,000). The strong showing helped CNN finish on top of its cable news rivals for a third straight week in the demo, marking only the third time in the last 15 years that it had won three straight weeks. FNC still led among the newsies in total viewers.
Comedy Central host Larry Wilmore was the featured entertainer at the dinner, with Donald Trump, President Obama and Chris Christie among his more frequent comedic targets. Of course, he also singled out CNN anchor Don Lemon, who offered a single-digit response to Wilmore’s zinger.