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News Television

60 Minutes Lifts CBS to Top Spot in Weekly Ratings

The hour-long candidates’ edition – the fourth such pre-election “60 Minutes” broadcast since 2008 – featured Lesley Stahl’s interviews with President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence and interviews with their opponents on the Democratic ticket, former vice president Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), conducted by CBS Evening News anchor Norah O’Donnell.

Douglas Pucci

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On prime time television for the week ending October 25, 2020, there were three NFL games, five MLB World Series games and the final U.S. presidential debate. But none of those telecasts achieved the week’s most viewers for a single prime time program on a single network. Those honors went to the CBS newsmagazine “60 Minutes”. The special Oct. 25th edition drew 17.4 million viewers.

The hour-long candidates’ edition – the fourth such pre-election “60 Minutes” broadcast since 2008 – featured Lesley Stahl’s interviews with President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence and interviews with their opponents on the Democratic ticket, former vice president Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), conducted by CBS Evening News anchor Norah O’Donnell.

While “60 Minutes” was certainly assisted by its late Sunday afternoon NFL lead-in (49ers-Patriots or Chiefs-Broncos or Jaguars-Chargers, based on their respective regions), the special had attracted controversy when the petulant Trump, who had openly railed against Stahl and her style of questioning, broke an agreement with CBS News and released his videotaped interview on Facebook before it was broadcast on CBS.

Online, it drew season-high digital traffic levels for a “60 Minutes” program on CBSNews.com, and an excerpt from the segment was the top video on YouTube’s trending list on Monday, Oct. 26th.

Excluding sports and multi-network programming, the Oct. 25th “60 Minutes” attracted the largest audience for any television broadcast since the Academy Awards ceremony on Feb. 9. Additionally, it was the most-watched “60 Minutes” edition since March 25, 2018; that edition was also featured a Trump-related controversy: Anderson Cooper’s interview with Stephanie Clifford, the adult film star known as Stormy Daniels who claimed she had an affair with Donald Trump in 2006.

Sunday’s broadcast saw its best delivery of adults 25-54 (3.6 rating/14 share; equating to 4.33 million viewers within that age range) since the aforementioned date of March 25, 2018.

Over on the cable front, for the second consecutive week, Fox News Channel topped the cable networks in both viewers and adults 25-54. For the week ending Oct. 25, 2020 in total day data (from 6 a.m. to 5:59 a.m. each day), Fox News Channel averaged 2.43 million viewers and 467,000 adults 25-54.

Also like the prior week, MSNBC was the runner-up cable news network in total viewers while CNN was runner-up among adults 25-54. Their averages were, as follows:

  • MSNBC: 1.47 million viewers, 245,000 adults 25-54
  • CNN: 1.33 million viewers, 348,000 adults 25-54

Top 10 most-watched cable news programs in total viewers:

1. Presidential Debate (FOXNC, Thu. 10/22/2020 9:03 PM, 94 min.) 15.405 million viewers

2. Presidential Debate Analysis (FOXNC, Thu. 10/22/2020 10:37 PM, 23 min.) 12.143 million viewers

3. Presidential Debate Coverage (FOXNC, Thu. 10/22/2020 8:50 PM, 13 min.) 11.289 million viewers

4. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Thu. 10/22/2020 8:00 PM, 50 min.) 8.152 million viewers

5. Hannity (FOXNC, Thu. 10/22/2020 11:00 PM, 60 min.) 7.533 million viewers

6. Final Presidential Debate (CNN, Thu. 10/22/2020 9:04 PM, 93 min.) 7.508 million viewers

7. Debate (MSNBC, Thu. 10/22/2020 9:03 PM, 94 min.) 6.929 million viewers

8. MSNBC Debate Analysis (MSNBC, Thu. 10/22/2020 10:37 PM, 23 min.) 6.594 million viewers

9. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Wed. 10/21/2020 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 5.330 million viewers

10. Debate Night In America (CNN, Thu. 10/22/2020 10:37 PM, 83 min.) 5.275 million viewers

Top 10 cable news programs among adults 25-54:

1. Presidential Debate (FOXNC, Thu. 10/22/2020 9:03 PM, 94 min.) 4.385 million adults 25-54

2. Presidential Debate Analysis (FOXNC, Thu. 10/22/2020 10:37 PM, 23 min.) 3.495 million adults 25-54

3. Final Presidential Debate (CNN, Thu. 10/22/2020 9:04 PM, 93 min.) 3.019 million adults 25-54

4. Presidential Debate Coverage (FOXNC, Thu. 10/22/2020 8:50 PM, 13 min.) 2.803 million adults 25-54

5. Hannity (FOXNC, Thu. 10/22/2020 11:00 PM, 60 min.) 1.908 million adults 25-54

6. Debate Night In America (CNN, Thu. 10/22/2020 10:37 PM, 83 min.) 1.817 million adults 25-54

7. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Thu. 10/22/2020 8:00 PM, 50 min.) 1.745 million adults 25-54

8. Debate (MSNBC, Thu. 10/22/2020 9:03 PM, 94 min.) 1.584 million adults 25-54

9. MSNBC Debate Analysis (MSNBC, Thu. 10/22/2020 10:37 PM, 23 min.) 1.469 million adults 25-54

10. Debate Night In America (CNN, Thu. 10/22/2020 8:00 PM, 64 min.) 1.230 million adults 25-54

News Television

CNN Asks Florida Judge to Toss Out Donald Trump’s Defamation Suit

Trump filed the lawsuit against CNN because he accuses the network of defaming his character during the 2020 Presidential Election.

Eduardo Razo

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Former President Donald Trump filed a lawsuit against CNN in October; now, over a month later, the cable news channel is asking a judge in Florida to toss the case (h/t The Hill).

Trump filed the lawsuit against CNN because he accuses the network of defaming his character during the 2020 Presidential Election. Trump’s attorneys argued CNN “has sought to use its massive influence — purportedly as a ‘trusted’ news source.”

Additionally, Trump’s lawyer says that CNN attempted “to defame the Plaintiff in the minds of its viewers and readers for the purpose of defeating him politically, culminating in CNN claiming credit for ‘[getting] Trump out’ in the 2020 presidential election.”

CNN lawyers have pushed back against Trump’s claims saying that the former president “seeks to silence any criticism of Plaintiff’s debunked claim that the 2020 presidential election was ‘stolen.’”

“Any alleged association resulting therefrom are also ‘rhetorical hyperbole’ and ‘pure opinion’ under well-established principles of defamation law,” CNN’s lawyers added.

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News Television

Investor Cautions Over Possible Fox-News Corp. Merger

Irenic Capital, which owns about 2 percent of News Corp., has taken issue with its potential merger between Fox and News Corp.

Eduardo Razo

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Rumors have swirled over Fox and News Corp. possibly merging into one entity, but Irenic Capital, which owns about 2% of News Corp., has taken issue with its potential merger.

A merger would produce a more complicated company and turn off investors rather than increase the company’s lagging stock price, Irenic Capital stated in a letter to the News Corp. board.

“And even if such synergies do exist today, they would principally benefit Fox and reside in the News Media segment of News Corp,” Irenic Capital said (h/t Deadline). “For example, Fox Business may benefit from greater integration with The Wall Street Journal and some of Dow Jones’ other properties, but it is highly debatable whether the benefits from such an association flow both ways.

“Combining News Corp with Fox will result in a combined company that is obviously more complex than both companies left separate.” 

Irenic believes a unification would aid Fox far better than News Corp. and cautioned that the board has a fiduciary responsibility to investigate all possible routes to develop value beyond the one suggested by its primary shareholder.

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News Television

Fox News Lights All-American Christmas Tree

The event was hosted by Greg Gutfeld, Judge Jeanine Pirro, Dana Perino, Jessica Tarlov and Jesse Watters

Ryan Hedrick

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Fox News held its annual All-American Tree Lighting at FOX Square in New York, New York Monday during “The Five.” The event was hosted by Greg Gutfeld, Judge Jeanine Pirro, Dana Perino, Jessica Tarlov and Jesse Watters

In a release, the network said it partnered with the Police Athletic League (PAL) to host a toy drive benefiting New York City’s youth. The network also honored first responders by selecting representatives of the FDNY and NYPD to light this year’s tree.

Guests included FOX News personalities and their families along with first responders from the NYPD and FDNY, including members of NYPD Precinct 32, who lost Wilbert Mora and Jason Rivera this year, and members of EMS Station 49, who lost EMS captain Alison Russo earlier this year.

FOX’s All-American Christmas tree stands at 50 feet tall and is adorned by 12,000 ornaments and 340,000 lights. The tree has 500 branches, a star topper that is over six feet tall and more than four miles of cord wrapped throughout.  Made in America, the tree features a patriotic theme of red, white, and blue decorations.

“After a busy year in America, it’s nice to, let’s just take a step back and celebrate traditions like this and remember how important it is to come together and focus on what truly matters,” said co-host Dana Perino. “This tree is not just for us to enjoy. We want you watching at home to be able to come here and make Christmas memories with your family and friends and of course, your pets, too, of course, as you can imagine.”

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