Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s January 6 Committee made its primetime hearing last Thursday a full-blown media spectacle. Producers of the show even used teleprompters to keep the House presenters focused on the narrative as scripted. Unfortunately for Democrats, the show was a major rating disappointment.
House Republicans posted a photo of the hearing on Twitter with the observation that the presenters were using teleprompters.
After Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected the slate of Republican House members proposed for the committee by Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), he withdrew all nominations and refused to participate further in the selection process. Pelosi then selected two well-known Never-Trumpers as the sole GOP members on the committee, Reps. Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL).
The committee has gone on to conduct dozens of depositions and interviews while collecting evidence even though the selection process deviated from the resolution creating the committee and has resulted in multiple lawsuits.
The Thursday primetime presentation was just the first of a series of media productions planned by the committee over the next few weeks. The first hearing included edited clips of testimony provided by Trump administration officials and advisors. The presentation also included video testimony from U.S. Capitol Police officer Caroline Edwards and filmmaker Nick Quested.
Quested was presented as a star witness by Democrats, even though he has offered previous testimony that the Capitol doors were left open by “someone in authority.”
The three major networks, CBS, ABC, and NBC, carried the Thursday night hearing following significant promotion in the preceding days. The Neilson ratings data indicated the broadcasts were a ratings disaster for the networks.
ABC had 4.8 million viewers, NBC had 3.5 million, and CBS pulled in 3.3 million.
By comparison, CBS had 3.7 million viewers the previous Thursday for a rerun of a “Young Sheldon” episode.
An analysis by AdWeek indicates that those numbers are far lower than what the major networks normally register. The three networks normally have a total of around 18 million viewers on Thursday evenings. The hearing pulled only around 11 million total.
The leftist cable networks saw a boost in viewers over their typical evening. MSNBC got 4.1 million viewers, around four times its normal number. CNN got 2.6 million viewers to tune in to the hearing.
Fox News ran its normal prime time programming and showed the hearing on Fox Business. Fox News had 3 million viewers over the two-hour timeslot.