CNN was the top-rated cable news network on Wednesday, as the first of its two Republican town hall gatherings this week easily outdrew MSNBC’s own town hall special with Donald Trump — an event that was announced only one day earlier.
According to fast nationals from Nielsen, CNN’s GOP Town Hall from Greenville, S.C., led cable news for the 8-11 p.m. time period Wednesday in both total viewers (2.307 million) and the key adults 25-54 news demo (758,000). Fox News Channel was second with mostly regular programming (2.116 million, including 393,000 adults 25-54) and MSNBC ran a distant third (1.227 million, including 281,000 adults 25-54).
Airing from 8 to 11 p.m. ET on Wednesday, CNN’s town hall was moderated by Anderson Cooper and featured presidential candidates Ben Carson, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio in front of a live studio audience. A second GOP town hall, this one featuring Jeb Bush, John Kasich and Trump, will air tonight on CNN.
Specifically in the 8 o’clock hour last night, CNN’s town hall drew 2.057 million viewers and 629,000 adults 25-54 — towering over MSNBC (1.432 million, 341,000 adults 25-54), which had a town hall event with Trump moderated by Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski. Fox News Channel, with Eric Bolling filling in for Bill O’Reilly on “The O’Reilly Factor,” placed second in the demo (373,000) and first in total viewers (2.321 million).
Opposite CNN’s second GOP town hall of the week tonight, MSNBC is hosting a Democratic town hall with Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. It will be preceded at 8 p.m. ET by Rachel Maddow’s interview with Joe Biden.