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A big audience tuned in to see the conviction of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for killing George Floyd.
According to preliminary figures from Nielsen, 18.38 million viewers watched coverage of the verdict across six broadcast and cable networks Tuesday. That figure doesn’t include NBC — whose fast national figures weren’t available — and will grow some when out-of-home viewing is added in the final ratings.
Chauvin was convicted on all three charges against him in the May 25, 2020 death of Floyd: second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. He’s scheduled to be sentenced in early June; the prison term for the most serious charge, second-degree unintentional murder, could range from 12 1/2 to 40 years.
CNN topped the two-hour coverage window (4:30-6:30 p.m. ET) around the verdict, averaging 4.03 million viewers in that time and edging the 4 million who watched on ABC. Fox News drew 3.44 million viewers, followed by MSNBC (3.07 million) and CBS (3.02 million). HLN had 825,000 viewers.
CNN also had the largest share of viewers in the key news demographic of adults 25-54 with 1.46 million. ABC finished second with 980 million, followed by Fox News, 742,000; CBS, 682,000; MSNBC, 562,000; and HLN, 309,000.
Final ratings for the 4-6 p.m. window (half-hour breakdowns weren’t available) show CNN averaging 4.35 million viewers, Fox News 3.77 million and MSNBC 3.27 million. HLN averaged 940,000 over those two hours. The verdict was read just after 5 p.m. ET, with CNN’s Situation Room leading that hour with 4.69 million viewers, the biggest cable audience of the day.
Fox News claimed the primetime lead, led by Tucker Carlson Tonight‘s 3.33 million viewers. It averaged 2.78 million viewers from 8-11 p.m. to 2.21 million for MSNBC and 1.87 million for CNN.
Bookmark THR.com/Ratings for more ratings news and numbers.
April 21, 2:05 p.m. Updated with final cable news ratings.
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