Over a span of two hours Thursday evening, 20 million people tuned in to the House select committee’s first prime-time hearing on the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, according to Nielsen data reported by several outlets.
The audience skewed older ― more than 15 million viewers were aged 55 and up, Deadline reported. About 3.6 million viewers were between 35 and 54 years old, and fewer than 1 million were adults aged 18 to 34.
Broadcast networks went into special-report mode. ABC led the group with nearly 5 million viewers, followed by NBC with 3.6 million and CBS with 3.4 million. Cable news networks were led by MSNBC, with 4.2 million viewers, followed by CNN with 2.6 million viewers, TVLine said, citing Nielsen data.
Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and Vice Chair Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) laid out the broad strokes of their findings to viewers, explaining how former President Donald Trump was told by aides that his claims of a stolen election were, in the words of former Attorney General Bill Barr, “bullshit.” Trump resisted efforts to calm his supporters as they laid siege to the Capitol, the committee said, and allegedly went so far as to agree with the people chanting “Hang Mike Pence.”
Thompson and Cheney are expected to go into further detail over the course of five more hearings featuring recorded and live testimony. At least one more hearing is expected to be held during prime time. The next hearing is set for Monday at 10 a.m. ET.