Fox News Channel draws a crowd for Cavanaugh vote coverage

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NEW YORK — The Senate's vote confirming Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh sent viewers flocking to Fox News Channel, which recorded its biggest Saturday audience in more than a decade.

Fox's daytime audience was bigger than any for the network since Hurricane Katrina in 2005, while its Saturday prime-time lineup eclipsed anything since the Iraq War in 2003, the Nielsen company said.

Kavanaugh's victory after a lengthy confirmation battle benefited the network that's a favorite of people friendly to his cause.

Fox reached 4.34 million viewers for the Senate vote. Rivals CNN and MSNBC combined had less than half of that audience, as many of Kavanaugh's opponents clearly couldn't stomach watching the vote.

It was closer on Friday for what proved the decisive moment — when Maine Sen. Susan Collins announced her choice, insuring that Kavanaugh's nomination would succeed. At that hour, Fox had 3.27 million viewers, CNN had 1.37 million and MSNBC had 1.36 million, Nielsen said.

Kavanaugh's nomination received more coverage on the broadcast evening news programs than any other Supreme Court nominee over the past 30 years, topping the proceedings involving Clarence Thomas, according to news consultant Andrew Tyndall.

Meanwhile, NBC scored a prime-time victory over CBS for the second week of the television season.

Sunday night NFL football on NBC provided the margin, but the network is also showing strength with its entertainment offerings.

The new drama "Manifest" appears to be a hit. Its debut episode was watched some eight million times within a week on a time-shifted basis, second only to "Roseanne" for the biggest such "lift" for a show ever recorded.

For the week, NBC averaged 7.5 million viewers in prime-time. CBS was second with 6.9 million, Fox had 6 million, ABC had 4.7 million.

The Top 10

Prime-time viewership numbers (in millions) compiled by Nielsen for Oct. 1-7.

1. NFL Football: Dallas at Houston, NBC, 18.5

2. NFL Football: Kansas City at Denver, ESPN, 13.5

3. NFL Football: Indianapolis at New England, Fox, 13.2

4. "Sunday Night NFL Pre-Kick," NBC, 12.8

5. "The Big Bang Theory," CBS, 12.3

6. "NCIS," CBS, 12.1

7. "The OT," Fox, 10.7

8. "Young Sheldon," CBS, 10.6

9. "The Voice" (Monday), NBC, 10.06

10. "The Voice" (Tuesday), NBC, 9.4


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