The network was billing the special as a deeply personal journey where "Cooper observes the tenacity of the survivors who continue to struggle every day, grieving for loved ones while trying to rebuild their lives." The report was scheduled to air at 9 p.m. ET on Tuesday, but was postponed to Wednesday night instead.
CNN and MSNBC showed live coverage of the GOP frontrunner's speech and press conference from Iowa, where he made headline news by kicking out Fusion/Univision's lead correspondent, Jorge Ramos.
Fox News aired part of Trump's speech, but eventually switched to "The O'Reilly Factor."
Viewers were not happy about the billionaire's extended air-time:
Trump is currently leading in the polls and is a TV ratings sensation — and the two are likely related. The networks that led with Trump coverage saw a sharp increase in viewers over the weekend. The Associated Press called him "catnip for news programs" that "wins a level of coverage that feeds on itself."
CNN's media correspondent Brian Stelter referred to Trump as the "media's addiction."
"When he speaks, he’s given something no other candidate gets. That’s wall-to-wall coverage," Stelter said on "Reliable Sources." "He sucks up all the oxygen.”
Following Trump's appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press," the legacy show saw its biggest viewership in more than a year.
As HuffPost's Gabriel Arana noted, "The real estate mogul has gotten at least four times as much coverage as any other GOP candidate since the Aug. 7 debate."
Even Trump admits an ironic understanding of his power as a "ratings machine" by repeatedly suggesting that he should get paid for his appearances.
Trump suggested that CNN should donate $10 million to charity in exchange for his appearance at its Sept. 16 Republican presidential debate.
"If I go to CNN and I say, ‘Look, you’re going to have a massive audience,’ and if I say to them, ‘I want $10 million for charity, nothing for myself,’ what happens? I’m not showing up, right?” Trump said in an interview with Time.
Trump also wants Fox to pay him for appearances, despite his heated feud with the network's leading anchor Megyn Kelly.
“Then we go to Roger Ailes, who’s a great guy at Fox, and say, ‘Roger, they did so great at CNN, you did so great at Fox, let’s make it 12 [million], 15 [million], 18 [million], all for charity. I’m thinking about it, I am thinking about it," Trump said.
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