Fox News was once again the big winner at the Republican National Convention, but Paul Ryan could not equal the allure of 2008’s Republican star, Sarah Palin. The young Wisconsin congressman and vice-presidential candidate made a big splash in his first speech in the national spotlight, and despite some disagreements with the fact-checkers, his words played extremely well inside the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
Overall, viewership was relatively steady compared to the convention’s first night, when Ann Romney and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie set the tone for the event, but Fox News expanded upon its domination during the 10 p.m. window – when the networks joined the cable stations with coverage of the major speeches. More than 7.7 million viewers tuned in to Fox News, more than 3 million more than NBC, its nearest competitor. For the entire night, Fox News dwarfed CNN and MSNBC, with an average of 5.8 million viewers, more than twice their rivals combined audience.
Yet Ryan didn’t surpass his predecessor, Palin, who fueled a culture of fascination leading up to her enormously successful convention speech in 2008. More than 37 million people tuned in for her national introduction, including 9.2 million Fox News viewers. Ryan drew just over 20 million from the same networks.
Click below for complete numbers, courtesy of Nielsen Media Research
8-11 p.m. Primetime Coverage
FNC: 5,846,142 viewers (1,421,945 in 25-54)
MSNBC: 1,298,936 viewers (366,743 in 25-54)
CNN: 1,115,395 viewers (341,758 in 25-54)
10-11 p.m. Coverage
FNC: 7,702,578 viewers (2,067,483 in 25-54)
NBC: 4,149,000 viewers (1,492,694 in 25-54)
ABC: 2,858,000 viewers (993,941 in 25-54)
CBS: 2,559,000 viewers (943,519 in 25-54)
MSNBC: 1,440,882 viewers (402,044 in 25-54)
CNN: 1,340,129 viewers (451,370 in 25-54)