CNN’s town hall event featuring former President Donald Trump proved to be a ratings boost for the network.
The event received over 3 million total viewers, according to data from The Nielsen Company. Approximately 703,000 of the viewers were between the ages of 25 and 54, the demographic that most television networks and programs usually target. In recent weeks, CNN was averaging 500,000 viewers for its 8 p.m. primetime show, even after Fox News fired host Tucker Carlson.
CNN’s town hall ratings were far superior to some of its competitors, including Fox News and MSNBC. Fox News slightly had more total viewers than MSNBC but lost in crucial demographics, 125,000-155,000. Fox News has dominated CNN and MSNBC in ratings for years, but its viewership has significantly decreased following Carlson’s departure.
As impressive as CNN’s ratings were for the town hall event, they excluded individuals who watched it through online streaming services.
Trump’s supporters praised his performance, and even some of his critics acknowledged he had a strong showing. Trump campaign spokeswoman Liz Harrington said the former president was “masterful” at handling the “Fake News… with ease.”
While Trump received praise for his performance during the town hall, many have criticized the performance of CNN host Kaitlan Collins, who hosted the event but kept interrupting Trump and falsely refuting him. Trump later had enough of Collins’ line of questioning and called her “a nasty person.”
Watch the crowd cheer as Donald Trump calls CNN anchor Kaitlin Collins a “nasty person” when she badgers him about the classified documents pic.twitter.com/1f4XxHVoAn
— 🇺🇸Travis🇺🇸 (@Travis_in_Flint) May 11, 2023
Mollie Hemingway, a senior editor for the Federalist, wrote an opinion piece criticizing many in the media who argued that Collins’ approach during the town hall was good.
“The only thing funnier than the Town Hall last night is the scores of media propagandists rushing to say — all NATIONALLY TELEVISED evidence to the contrary! — that Kaitlan Collins did well. I still don’t quite get why it’s important for them to lie about what we all saw,” Hemingway tweeted.
The only thing funnier than the Town Hall last night is the scores of media propagandists rushing to say — all NATIONALLY TELEVISED evidence to the contrary! — that Kaitlan Collins did well. I still don't quite get why it's important for them to lie about what we all saw.
— Mollie (@MZHemingway) May 11, 2023
Mediaite noted that CNN’s “3 million viewers is what Fox News used to draw on a regular night.” Although true, CNN’s decision to host the event with Trump at St. Anselm College in New Hampshire was beneficial for the network. CNN might invite other 2024 GOP presidential candidates for similar events leading up to the primaries, which start in August 2023.