Robert Mueller Hearings Draw 13M Viewers, Fox News and MSNBC Lead

Mueller testifying before Congress 3 - H Getty 2019
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

News coverage of special counsel Robert Mueller's testimony before Congress Wednesday drew a sizable audience — but not as big as some other recent televised hearings.

The 7 1/2 hours of hearings, from 8:15 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. ET, drew an average of just a little under 13 million viewers (12.77 million) on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox News and MSNBC.

In the hearings, Mueller reiterated the findings of his report on Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election and contacts with members of Donald Trump's campaign — including that the report did not clear the president of possible obstruction of justice.

The 13 million viewers falls short of some other recent televised hearings: Former Donald Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, for instance, drew about 16 million viewers when he testified before Congress in February. Ex-FBI Director James Comey's 2017 appearance before Congress attracted 19.5 million and Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court confirmation hearing averaged 20 million viewers.  

Fox News led the field for Wednesday's coverage with an average of just over 3 million viewers for the hearings. MSNBC averaged 2.44 million; followed by ABC, 2.04 million; CBS, 1.91 million; NBC, 1.86 million; and CNN, 1.49 million. 

CBS is currently blacked out in about 10 million homes because of a carriage dispute with AT&T that affects DirecTV and U-verse customers. (The network led broadcast coverage for the Cohen hearing with a little over 3 million viewers.) 

NBC had the most viewers in the key news demographic of adults 25-54, with 502,000 viewers. ABC had 467,000; Fox News 441,000; CBS 410,000; CNN 360,000; and MSNBC 354,000.