CNN ratings plummet after much-maligned Trump town hall

CNN's ratings appear to have taken a hit in the wake of its much-maligned town hall featuring former President Donald Trump.

More than a week after the controversial television spectacle, the network weathered its lowest-rated week since June 2015, according to The Daily Beast.

The network averaged approximately 429,000 total daily viewers between Monday and Friday of last week. The network's viewership was also down by double digits when compared to the same week last year. Those numbers remained consistent for its primary advertising demographic of 25-54 year-olds.

CNN's cable news rivals had far better viewership during the same time period; MSNBC had more than double CNN's daily audience, with 976,000 total viewers, while Fox News went beyond that with 1.4m.

In a statement to The Independnet, CNN defended its ratings, noting that it outpaced Fox News for the month of May up through the 20th.

“CNN is reaching the most P2+ and P25-54 viewers in cable news (39.173 million P2+ and 10.529 million P25-54), outpacing Fox News (35.422 million P2+ and 7.950 million P25-54),” a CNN spokesperson told The Independnet.

Despite those numbers, Fox News is weathering its own storms with the abrupt firing of Tucker Carlson. Its numbers are down 41 per cent in its key demographics year-to-year, and down 24 per cent in total viewership.

Its weekday demographic audience immediately after Carlson's departure was the lowest it has been since the first week of September 2001.

Both Fox and CNN are suffering in their primetime time slots. Several of their weeknight primetime offerings have been beaten in the ratings by Newsmax, a far-right media channel that has served as a landing spot for conservative viewers fleeing Fox News in the wake of Carlson's departure.

Newsmax saw a similar boost immediately after the 2020 election after Fox News accurately called Arizona for Joe Biden before any other news outlet.

Chris Wallace's Friday night interview show on CNN scored only 224,000 total viewers in its 10pm slot; 60,000 more people were watching Newsmax during the same time slot. CNN noted to The Independent that Wallace’s show is available on Max before it airs on CNN, calling it “inaccurate” to portray the CNN viewership as the show’s only audience numbers.

The only network actively gaining viewers is MSNBC, which saw its audience numbers increase 44 per cent — likely a result of the CNN exodus.

CNN's town hall with Mr Trump and moderated by Kaitlan Collins included the former president further maligning E Jean Carroll — whom he was found by a court to have sexually assaulted and defamed — calling 6 January 2021 a "beautiful day," and promising to pardon Capitol rioters who attempted to thwart the nation's democratic transfer of power after his 2020 election loss. He also continued to push the idea that the 2020 election was stolen.

Blowback to the town hall was so severe that CNN star anchor Anderson Cooper made a statement on-air about the debacle, ultimately asking them to view the event as a warning about Mr Trump's political aspirations.