Karen McDougal Interview Boosts Anderson Cooper’s Ratings

Former Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal’s interview with Anderson Cooper regarding her alleged affair with President Donald Trump provided a sizable ratings boost to the CNN anchor.

In the 8 p.m. hour, Cooper averaged 2.21 million viewers, with 608,000 of those falling in the key adults 25-54 demographic, according to Nielsen data. That is an improvement over Cooper’s average in the hour for the previous four weeks of 58% in the demo and 89% in total viewers. Cooper topped both Fox New’s Tucker Carlson and MSNBC’s Chris Hayes in the hour in the demo as well, with Carlson averaging 572,000 viewers and Hayes averaging 397,000. However, Carlson had the most viewers at 8 p.m. with 2.69 million. Hayes was third with 1.95 million.

At 9 p.m., Cooper averaged 2.30 million viewers with 683,000 in the demo, an improvement of 81% in the demo and 113% in total viewers compared to his average in the hour for the previous four weeks. Cooper also won the hour in the demo over MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow–who had 628,000– and Fox New’s Sean Hannity, who had 591,000. However, Cooper finished third in total viewers, with Maddow leading with 2.98 million and Hannity right behind with 2.92 million.

McDougal claimed in the interview that she and Trump had an affair during a 10-month period between 2006 and 2007. She subsequently signed an agreement with American Media Inc., which owns the National Enquirer, that paid her $150,000 in exchange for not speaking about the affair. She has since filed a suit to be released from that agreement.

“The story is out there now,” McDougal told Cooper. “I’m not telling the nitty gritty details, as you can see. I’m very selective in what I’m saying about our relationship. I’m not out to make money on this. I’m out to get my rights back, to prove a contract was illegal, that I was taken advantage of and go back to my life. Period.”

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