CNN’s Trump town hall beats Fox News and MSNBC in ratings battle

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CNN’s controversial town hall with Donald Trump drew just over 3.1 million viewers Wednesday, topping Fox News and MSNBC in the Nielsen ratings. Those networks drew 1.412 and 1.372 viewers, respectively, during the 70 minutes host Kaitlan Collins sat with the former president.

Trump used the opportunity to continue spreading lies about the 2020 presidential election, denigrate the woman he was found responsible for sexually abusing a day earlier and calling his host a “nasty person.”

The 9 p.m. town hall also helped CNN carry the 8-11 p.m. primetime slot, where Fox News finished a distant second and MSNBC took the bronze.

According to CNN, which has been struggling with ratings, the last single-candidate town hall to score that big among viewers was a 2020 chat with Joe Biden, which drew an audience of 3.465 million.

It’s yet to be seen if CNN will pay a price for Wednesday’s big win. Calls to boycott the network went viral online among angry spectators displeased with the show format, which allowed Trump to lie at will while fielding questions from an audience largely supportive of his politics. Collins — expected to soon be moved to primetime on a full-time basis — pushed back against the former president’s misleading rhetoric, but struggled to keep pace with his well-practiced routine.

CNN defended its host as “a world-class journalist” who asked “tough, fair and revealing” questions.

Fox News historically dominates cable news primetime ratings, but the right-wing outlet has struggled since parting ways with race-baiting host Tucker Carlson in late April. He plans to soon resurface with a new show on Twitter.