CNN Chief Defends Trump's Town Hall

The event was a ratings hit, with 3.1M viewers tuning in
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 11, 2023 2:54 PM CDT
Trump's Town Hall a Ratings Hit for CNN
Former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally, April 27, 2023, in Manchester, N.H.   (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

CNN was taking a lot of flak Thursday for its town hall with Donald Trump, but this much is clear: It was a ratings success. The prime-time forum drew 3.1 million viewers, enough to make it No. 1 among the cable news networks for the night, reports Axios. That includes 700,000 viewers in the coveted 25-to-45 demographic, roughly four times what the network usually draws. The Los Angeles Times notes that the show was CNN's highest-rated since its July coverage of the January 6 hearings. On the other hand, the total number of viewers amounts to what used to be a routine night for Tucker Carlson on Fox News before his recent ouster, per the Times.

CNN's critics are fuming that the network allowed Trump to air his claims about a rigged election and other matters in a forum that made real-time challenges difficult, but CEO Chris Licht was unapologetic Thursday. “I absolutely, unequivocally believe America was served very well by what we did last night,” Licht told CNN staffers in a call, reports the New York Times. “People woke up, and they know what the stakes are in this election in a way that they didn’t the day before. And if someone was going to ask tough questions and have that messy conversation, it damn well should be on CNN.” (More Donald Trump stories.)

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