Mueller testimony draws nearly 13 million viewers, less than other high-profile hearings

Mueller testimony draws nearly 13 million viewers, less than other high-profile hearings
© Aaron Schwartz

The much-anticipated appearance by former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE before Congress drew nearly 13 million viewers on Wednesday — less than previous high-profile hearings.

Overall, the hearings before the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees drew a total of 12.98 million viewers when combining the audiences of Fox News, ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC and CNN, according to early Nielsen Media data. 

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Fox News topped all broadcast and cable news networks in the ratings race, averaging 3 million viewers from 8:15 a.m. through 3:45 p.m. while lawmakers questioned Mueller, according to the Nielsen data.

The number of total viewers was considerably lower than those for former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyBook: FBI sex crimes investigator helped trigger October 2016 public probe of Clinton emails Trump jabs at FBI director over testimony on Russia, antifa Graham: Comey to testify about FBI's Russia probe, Mueller declined invitation MORE, who drew nearly 20 million viewers, and former Trump personal attorney Michael CohenMichael Dean CohenA huge deal for campaign disclosure: Trump's tax records for Biden's medical records Our Constitution is under attack by Attorney General William Barr Eric Trump says he will comply with New York AG's subpoena only after Election Day MORE, whose testimony earlier this year drew just under 16 million.

The confirmation hearings of Supreme Court Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughMomentum growing among Republicans for Supreme Court vote before Election Day Remembering Ginsburg's patriotism and lifelong motivation Collins: President elected Nov. 3 should fill Supreme Court vacancy MORE pulled in more than 20 million viewers after he was accused of sexual misconduct decades ago. Kavanaugh has denied the allegations.

In terms of individual ratings, MSNBC was the second most viewed network after Fox News, averaging 2.41 million. ABC was third with 2.12 million, with NBC's 1.99 million, CBS's 1.91 million and CNN's 1.52 million rounding out the six major channels covering the highly anticipated event.

CBS is currently blacked out in approximately 10 million homes due to a carriage dispute with AT&T, the owner of DirecTV. 

During his testimony, Mueller stuck closely to the contents of his report, rarely deviating from its findings in what was widely seen as an uneven performance.

He also declined to answer several questions posed by lawmakers.