Every single one of the 12 Democratic presidential town halls held so far in 2019 by CNN lost against simultaneous programming on other cable news networks, as of last Thursday.
The average viewership of CNN’s town halls were approximately 903,000 people. Comparatively, the Fox News programming that was going on while the town halls aired averaged 2.2 million viewers, whereas the MSNBC programming had 1.8 million viewers.
CNN has hosted town halls with the following candidates: California Sen. Kamala Harris, former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders, South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Tulsi Gabbard, former Rep. John Delaney, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee.
Of those 12, only five–Harris, Schultz, Klobuchar, Sanders, and Warren—garnered more than 1 million viewers, according to Nielsen’s Media Research. Harris’s town hall finished with slightly under 2 million viewers, which was the only one to exceed 1.4 million. Delaney’s town hall had the lowest ratings with under half a million viewers.
Furthermore, MSNBC has hosted one presidential town hall, for Gillibrand, that garnered 1.2 million viewers. Schultz was the first potential presidential candidate to have a town hall on Fox News and it had 1.9 million viewers.
CNN is scheduled to have town halls with former San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, author Marianne Williamson and businessman Andrew Yang later this week.
Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is scheduled to have a town hall on Fox News next week.
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