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60 Minutes Lifts CBS to Top Spot in Weekly Ratings

The hour-long candidates’ edition – the fourth such pre-election “60 Minutes” broadcast since 2008 – featured Lesley Stahl’s interviews with President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence and interviews with their opponents on the Democratic ticket, former vice president Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), conducted by CBS Evening News anchor Norah O’Donnell.

Douglas Pucci

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On prime time television for the week ending October 25, 2020, there were three NFL games, five MLB World Series games and the final U.S. presidential debate. But none of those telecasts achieved the week’s most viewers for a single prime time program on a single network. Those honors went to the CBS newsmagazine “60 Minutes”. The special Oct. 25th edition drew 17.4 million viewers.

The hour-long candidates’ edition – the fourth such pre-election “60 Minutes” broadcast since 2008 – featured Lesley Stahl’s interviews with President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence and interviews with their opponents on the Democratic ticket, former vice president Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), conducted by CBS Evening News anchor Norah O’Donnell.

While “60 Minutes” was certainly assisted by its late Sunday afternoon NFL lead-in (49ers-Patriots or Chiefs-Broncos or Jaguars-Chargers, based on their respective regions), the special had attracted controversy when the petulant Trump, who had openly railed against Stahl and her style of questioning, broke an agreement with CBS News and released his videotaped interview on Facebook before it was broadcast on CBS.

Online, it drew season-high digital traffic levels for a “60 Minutes” program on CBSNews.com, and an excerpt from the segment was the top video on YouTube’s trending list on Monday, Oct. 26th.

Excluding sports and multi-network programming, the Oct. 25th “60 Minutes” attracted the largest audience for any television broadcast since the Academy Awards ceremony on Feb. 9. Additionally, it was the most-watched “60 Minutes” edition since March 25, 2018; that edition was also featured a Trump-related controversy: Anderson Cooper’s interview with Stephanie Clifford, the adult film star known as Stormy Daniels who claimed she had an affair with Donald Trump in 2006.

Sunday’s broadcast saw its best delivery of adults 25-54 (3.6 rating/14 share; equating to 4.33 million viewers within that age range) since the aforementioned date of March 25, 2018.

Over on the cable front, for the second consecutive week, Fox News Channel topped the cable networks in both viewers and adults 25-54. For the week ending Oct. 25, 2020 in total day data (from 6 a.m. to 5:59 a.m. each day), Fox News Channel averaged 2.43 million viewers and 467,000 adults 25-54.

Also like the prior week, MSNBC was the runner-up cable news network in total viewers while CNN was runner-up among adults 25-54. Their averages were, as follows:

  • MSNBC: 1.47 million viewers, 245,000 adults 25-54
  • CNN: 1.33 million viewers, 348,000 adults 25-54

Top 10 most-watched cable news programs in total viewers:

1. Presidential Debate (FOXNC, Thu. 10/22/2020 9:03 PM, 94 min.) 15.405 million viewers

2. Presidential Debate Analysis (FOXNC, Thu. 10/22/2020 10:37 PM, 23 min.) 12.143 million viewers

3. Presidential Debate Coverage (FOXNC, Thu. 10/22/2020 8:50 PM, 13 min.) 11.289 million viewers

4. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Thu. 10/22/2020 8:00 PM, 50 min.) 8.152 million viewers

5. Hannity (FOXNC, Thu. 10/22/2020 11:00 PM, 60 min.) 7.533 million viewers

6. Final Presidential Debate (CNN, Thu. 10/22/2020 9:04 PM, 93 min.) 7.508 million viewers

7. Debate (MSNBC, Thu. 10/22/2020 9:03 PM, 94 min.) 6.929 million viewers

8. MSNBC Debate Analysis (MSNBC, Thu. 10/22/2020 10:37 PM, 23 min.) 6.594 million viewers

9. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Wed. 10/21/2020 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 5.330 million viewers

10. Debate Night In America (CNN, Thu. 10/22/2020 10:37 PM, 83 min.) 5.275 million viewers

Top 10 cable news programs among adults 25-54:

1. Presidential Debate (FOXNC, Thu. 10/22/2020 9:03 PM, 94 min.) 4.385 million adults 25-54

2. Presidential Debate Analysis (FOXNC, Thu. 10/22/2020 10:37 PM, 23 min.) 3.495 million adults 25-54

3. Final Presidential Debate (CNN, Thu. 10/22/2020 9:04 PM, 93 min.) 3.019 million adults 25-54

4. Presidential Debate Coverage (FOXNC, Thu. 10/22/2020 8:50 PM, 13 min.) 2.803 million adults 25-54

5. Hannity (FOXNC, Thu. 10/22/2020 11:00 PM, 60 min.) 1.908 million adults 25-54

6. Debate Night In America (CNN, Thu. 10/22/2020 10:37 PM, 83 min.) 1.817 million adults 25-54

7. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Thu. 10/22/2020 8:00 PM, 50 min.) 1.745 million adults 25-54

8. Debate (MSNBC, Thu. 10/22/2020 9:03 PM, 94 min.) 1.584 million adults 25-54

9. MSNBC Debate Analysis (MSNBC, Thu. 10/22/2020 10:37 PM, 23 min.) 1.469 million adults 25-54

10. Debate Night In America (CNN, Thu. 10/22/2020 8:00 PM, 64 min.) 1.230 million adults 25-54

News Television

Mark Levin Angered By Early Exit From Hannity Appearance

While waving his hands in frustration, Levin said, “Oh Christ, you’re cutting me off early. I’m done.”

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Mark Levin couldn’t hide his frustration with both the Department of Justice and what he perceived as an early exit from Tuesday’s episode of Hannity.

Levin, who was appearing on the Fox News show for a second consecutive day to discuss the FBI’s raid on former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, was deep into a monologue when he heard the universal cue to wrap up.

“They are in search to try and destroy Trump!”, Levin shouted. They conducted a criminal investigation! They failed! They have an investigation in New York with the attorney general that’s gonna to fail! They have a Democrat…”

As Levin got to that point, music began to wrap up the segment and head to a commercial break.

While waving his hands in frustration, Levin said, “Oh Christ, you’re cutting me off early. I’m done.”

Hannity insisted Levin finish his point, but after a back and forth that saw Levin say “no, I’m done”, the segment concluded.

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News Television

Former CNN+ Staffer Lands Streaming Role at CBS News

Allison Sandza would be leading the company’s streaming Washington D.C.-based coverage

Eduardo Razo

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A former CNN+ staffer is jumping over to CBS News as the network announced Allison Sandza would be leading the company’s streaming Washington D.C.-based coverage, per TV Newser

Sandza will officially hold the title of executive producer for streaming beginning on Sept. 19. She joins CBS News from CNN, where she was supervising producer for The Source with Kasie Hunt on CNN+.

“This newly-created role serves the dual purpose of working with bureau correspondents, producers and off-air journalists to amplify the bureau’s reporting across the stream throughout the day, as well as leading our flagship politics show, Red and Blue,” CBS News streaming chief Anthony Galloway said on Monday in a memo to staffers. 

Before heading to CNN, Sandza spent time at NBC as a senior producer for Meet the Press and in Austin, where she produced Overheard with Evan Smith for PBS stations and covered state politics.

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News Television

Rhiannon Ally Named Co-Anchor for World News Now, America This Morning

She joins Mona Kosar Abdi and Andrew Dymburt as ABC News attempts to create unity across its weekday and weekend morning shows with the three-anchor format.

Eduardo Razo

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ABC News has a new co-anchor for its “World News Now” and “America This Morning” coverage, as the network announced in a press release Rhiannon Ally is taking over the role.  

She joins Mona Kosar Abdi and Andrew Dymburt as ABC News attempts to create unity across its weekday and weekend morning shows with the three-anchor format.

“In this new role, Rhiannon will work alongside our talented overnight team,” ABC News president Kim Godwin wrote in a statement. 

“I am extremely proud of this dedicated group whose work continues to shine as “ATM” dominates the competition in all demos, and “WNN” is consistently a strong performer in overnight.”

Rhiannon has been with ABC News since December 2021, joining the company as a freelance correspondent for NewsOne and a fill-in anchor for ABC’s overnight news shows.

Furthermore, she has previous experience at WCBS in New York as a substitute news anchor and entertainment reporter and co-hosted Meredith Broadcasting’s nationally syndicated lifestyle program “Better TV.”

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