September 28, 2018 / 8:00 PM / a year ago

Millions of Americans glued to Kavanaugh hearing testimony

LOS ANGELES, Sept 28 (Reuters) - The high-stakes Senate hearing on the nomination of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh riveted U.S. television viewers with more than 11 million people tuning in on three cable networks alone, according to data released on Friday.

The large number for a weekday audience represents only a fraction of Thursday's total viewership of the emotional testimony that lasted nearly nine hours. It does not include millions more who likely tuned in on broadcast networks and others who streamed the event on phones or computers.

At the hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Stanford University professor Christine Blasey Ford accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her 36 years ago when they were both in high school. Kavanaugh vigorously denied it.

Among cable news channels, 21st Century Fox Inc's Fox News Channel pulled in an average audience of 5.7 million people, preliminary data from the Nielsen ratings agency showed. Comcast Corp's MSNBC attracted 2.9 million, and AT&T Inc's CNN brought in 2.5 million.

The 11 million in total exceeded the cable news audience for the June 2017 hearing where former FBI Director James Comey talked about his dealings with President Trump before he was fired. That showdown drew roughly 8.9 million on the three major cable news networks, and about 19.5 million when seven other broadcast and cable networks were added.

Numbers were not yet available for viewership of the Kavanaugh hearing on U.S. broadcast networks, which interrupted regular programming to air the event. Additional data is expected on Monday. (Reporting by Lisa Richwine; editing by Bill Tarrant and Jonathan Oatis)

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