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TV Ratings: State of the Union audience drops

The on-air audience for the State of the Union address is down significantly from a year ago.

President Joe Biden’s second State of the Union averaging 24.17 million viewers across the four major broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC) and three largest cable news channels (CNN, Fox News and MSNBC). That’s about 29 percent lower than the 33.83 million who watched the State of the Union on those seven outlets in 2022.

The 2022 State of the Union, the first official of Biden’s term, attracted 38.2 million viewers across 16 outlets. Final numbers from every Nielsen-rated channel that aired Tuesday’s speech will be available later today, but the total will likely be below 30 million on-air viewers, making it one of the least-watched State of the Union addresses (or presidential addresses to Congress for incoming executives) from the past 30 years.

Fox News had the largest for the speech with just under 4.7 million viewers, beating ABC’s 4.41 million for the top spot. NBC finished third with 3.78 million viewers, followed by CBS (3.64 million), MSNBC (3.57 million), CNN (2.41 million), and the broadcast network Fox (1.66 million). The Spanish-language broadcasters Univision (1.08 million) and Telemundo (836,000) added about 1.9 million viewers to the total.

ABC led the major news demographic of adults 25-54, drawing approximately 1.07 million viewers in that age bracket. NBC and Fox News each had about 852,000, followed by CBS (706,000), CNN (657,000), Fox broadcast (511,000), and MSNBC (499,000).

Elsewhere on Tuesday, LeBron James, who broke the NBA scoring record, delivered strong ratings for TNT. The broadcast of the Los Angeles Lakers-Oklahoma City Thunder game, where James Kareem surpassed Abdul-Jabbar’s long-time record of 38,387 career points, attracted 2.98 million viewers – the largest NBA audience for TNT since opening night of the season – and was easily the highest rated program of the evening among adults aged 18-49 with a rating of 1.29 (equivalent to approximately 1.68 million people).

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