The President of the United States addresses Congress and the nation at some point early in each year, and plenty of people almost always tune in to watch what the Commander in Chief has to say. Donald Trump's second address to Congress and first official State of the Union address aired on January 30, and the numbers are now in for how many people tuned in to watch. As it turns out, the viewership was down from what it was for Trump's first address to Congress back in 2017.
The 2018 State of the Union address attracted 40.54 million viewers on the Big 4 broadcast networks (CBS, NBC, ABC, and Fox) and the top three cable news channels (Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC). Throw in the 2.04 million viewers from Univision, the 1.44 million from Telemundo, the 1 million from PBS, and the 572,000 from Fox Business, and the grand total of viewers for Donald Trump's first State of the Union amount to 45.6 million, which is obviously quite a lot of people.
That said, the numbers for 2018 fall short of the numbers for 2017. 47.74 million folks tuned in for Donald Trump's first address to Congress back in February of last year, which TV By The Numbers reports is 4.5% more than the folks who tuned in for the January 30 address this year. Additionally, Trump's first official State of the Union this year attracted a smaller audience than the one that watched for the first State of the Union of Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton.
The overall viewership for the 2018 State of the Union may have been lower than Donald Trump's previous address to Congress, but one outlet actually performed quite well. Fox News had the biggest audience of all the networks with 11.71 million people tuning in. The 11.71 million is a bump up from the 10.77 million who watched the 2017 address.
The major broadcast networks didn't fare too badly, even if they couldn't match Fox News' turnout. NBC came out on top in the broadcast game with 7.06 million viewers. CBS was right behind NBC with 6.99 million. ABC came in third with 5.4 million, and Fox brought up the broadcast rear with 3.6 million.
Basically, if you were in the mood for something non-cable in primetime on January 30, your only options were pretty much The Flash and Black Lightning on The CW. Among non-broadcast outlets airing State of the Union coverage, CNN contributed 3.11 million viewers and MSNBC added 2.67 million to the overall total.
While we have around a year to wait before Donald Trump delivers another State of the Union, viewers will be able to find fictionalized versions of him elsewhere. Alec Baldwin can always reprise his interpretation of Trump on Saturday Night Live, and Stephen Colbert's Our Cartoon President gives a very different (and irreverent) take on Trump and his administration. For other viewing options now and in the coming weeks, be sure to check our our midseason TV premiere guide.
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Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).