(Bloomberg) — The TV audience for Joe Biden’s inauguration surpassed the number who watched Donald Trump four years ago, a sign that news channels may keep viewers’ interest during a new administration.
On the six major broadcast and cable networks, 39.9 million people tuned in to see Biden take the oath of office and give his inaugural address. That compares with the 38.4 million who tuned in to those same channels four years ago.
The latest figures were still well below the level in 2009, when about 51 million saw Barack Obama sworn in as the first Black president in U.S. history. But the numbers suggest viewers are sticking around following a year of heavy news, including a contentious election, the coronavirus pandemic and nationwide protests.
About 10 million viewers tuned in on CNN for the half-hour ceremony and speech, the most among the cable and broadcast news channels.
ABC was the second-most-watched, with 7.7 million viewers, which the network said was the first time in 28 years it had led among broadcast networks.
The NBC broadcast channel drew 6.9 million, while MSNBC attracted 6.5 million. CBS had 6.1 million viewers, and about 2.7 million watched on Fox News.
The total audience should grow after Nielsen counts viewers on all channels that aired the inauguration.