TV Ratings: 46.8 Million Watch State of the Union, Up a Little vs. 2018

The president's address to Congress is up by about 10 percent versus 2018 in preliminary figures.
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The State of the Union was a slightly bigger draw than it was in 2018.

Just under 46.8 million people — 46.79 million, to be precise — watched President Trump's address to Congress across 12 networks, about 3 percent more than watched a year ago.  

The 2018 address drew 45.55 million viewers. Trump's first address to Congress in 2017 — not technically a State of the Union, as he had only been in office a few weeks — drew the largest audience of his term to date with 47.74 million. 

Fox News led the field 11.27 million viewers from 9-10:30 p.m. ET, off slightly from the 11.5 million who watched the 2018 SOTU. NBC topped broadcast networks with 7.14 million viewers, followed by CBS (6.68 million) and ABC (5.91 million). The Fox broadcast network's 4.2 million viewers beat out both MSNBC (3.79 million) and CNN (3.47 million).

The four broadcast networks and big three cable news outlets combined for 42.46 million viewers. PBS, Telemundo, Univision, Fox Business and CNNe combined to averaged 4.33 million.

Tuesday's address drew more viewers than the comparable ones in the first terms of Barack Obama (42.79 million in 2011) and Bill Clinton (42.2 million in 1995) but fell well short of George W. Bush's 2003 State of the Union, which drew 62 million as Bush made a case for invading Iraq. That address is the most-watched State of the Union in this century.

In earlier metered-market ratings, the State of the Union averaged a 16.3 household rating across ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC, up about 10 percent from a 14.8 last year. The SOTU was also slightly higher in metered markets than Trump's 2017 address, which is not technically considered a State of the Union speech as he'd only been in office a few weeks.

A handful of regular programs also aired Tuesday. Ellen's Game of Games scored a 1.4 rating among adults 18-49, the best non-news rating of the night but a season low for the NBC show. 

ABC's American Housewife had a season-low 0.8 in the 18-49 demo but its biggest total audience of 2018-19 with 4.65 million. The Kids Are Alright followed with a 0.8, even with its last outing.

The Flash (0.7) matched its week-ago demo rating on The CW, and Roswell, New Mexico ticked up to 0.4.

Pending updates for the live news coverage, NBC led the broadcast nets with a 1.4 in adults 18-49 in primetime. Fox took second place with a 1.0, and ABC and CBS tied at 0.9. The CW posted a 0.5, and Univision and Telemundo tied at 0.4.

Feb. 6, 12:20 p.m. Updated with additional State of the Union ratings.

Feb. 6, 2:50 p.m. Updated with final State of the Union numbers.