Last week, following a controversial town hall with former President Donald Trump, CNN’s primetime viewership fell below that of right-wing outlet Newsmax.
Despite drawing more than 3 million viewers on May 10, CNN averaged only 335,000 total viewers between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. two days later, The Street reported.
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By comparison, Newsmax had 357,000 viewers during the same time period. As a result, CNN fell to fourth place in the primetime news ratings, behind Fox News and MSNBC, which had 1.44 million and 1.08 million viewers, respectively.
The massive drop in viewers comes days after primetime anchor Anderson Cooper told viewers on May 11 that he would understand if they decided to stop watching the network altogether in protest of the news cable channel’s new editorial direction under Chris Licht.
It appears that CNN’s recent drop in primetime viewership may be due to last week’s controversial town hall event with former President Trump.
The day before the town hall, CNN had 589,000 viewers between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m., but that number had dropped to 539,000 a week earlier. The town hall, hosted by CNN anchor Kaitlan Collins in New Hampshire, was Trump’s first appearance on the network since taking office, and it was met with strong opposition from critics on the left who accused CNN of giving him a platform to spread false claims about the 2020 election.
CNN recently promoted Collins, a former correspondent for Tucker Carlson’s conservative website, to a primetime slot starting this fall. She will take over the cable news network’s 9 p.m. Eastern hour, and will appear regularly in that time slot starting next month. The update was shared with CNN staff in a memo from chairman Licht on Wednesday, The Seattle Times reported.
People familiar with the discussions, who were not authorized to discuss them publicly, said the decision to give Collins a primetime hour was made before the town hall. Licht also praised Collins’ performance.