Fox News Channel is airing the Jan. 6 committee hearings when they occur in daytime hours and a striking number of the network’s viewers have made clear they’d rather be doing something else.
During two daytime hearings last week, Fox averaged 727,000 viewers, the Nielsen company said. That compares to the 3.09 million who watched the hearings on MSNBC and the 2.21 million tuned in to CNN.
It completely flips the typical viewing pattern for the news networks. During weekdays when the hearings are not taking place, Fox News Channel routinely has more viewers than the other two networks combined, Nielsen said.
Last Thursday, Fox had 1.33 million viewers for the 2 p.m. Eastern hour before the hearing started — slightly below its second quarter average but on par for early summer, when fewer people are watching TV.
After the hearing started, Fox’s audience’s sank to 747,000 for the 3 p.m. Eastern hour and even lower, to 718,000, at 4 p.m. Fox cut away from the hearing at 5 p.m. to show its popular panel program, “The Five,” and fans immediately rewarded them: viewership shot up to 2.76 million people, Nielsen said.