CNN’s GOP Town Hall from Wisconsin on Tuesday, featuring Anderson Cooper’s sitdown interviews with the final three candidates, has become the most-watched ever on cable news, with the network drawing more viewers than Fox News and MSNBC combined.
According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, the GOP Town Hall averaged 3.263 million viewers from 8 to 11 p.m., edging out the previous high for a town hall set by CNN in January for a Democratic gathering from Iowa prior to the state’s caucuses. Fox News Channel, without leadoff hitter Bill O’Reilly, placed second among the cable newsers for the night with 1.996 million, and MSNBC drew 1.156 million.
In the key news demo of adults 25-54, CNN (1.062 million) also easily topped the combined totals of FNC (422,000) and MSNBC (292,000).
Viewership peaked during the 9 p.m. ET hour when Donald Trump was interviewed. In the Nielsen prelims, CNN averaged 4.04 million viewers, including 1.33 million adults 25-54.
The post-program, “CNN Tonight with Don Lemon,” also finished No. 1 among cable news networks from 11 p.m. to midnight ET. It averaged 1.353 million viewers, including 480,000 in the 25-54 demo.
Tuesday’s town hall came one week before the crucial Wisconsin primary. Among the highlights last night were Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and John Kasich separately declining to say they would unquestionably support the GOP candidate for November’s election.