( Forbes) – Topline: An estimated13.8 million people across 10 networks tuned in for Wednesday’s public impeachment hearings, according to ratings company Nielsen.
- Viewership included ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, CNN, Fox and MSNBC, according to Nielsen.
- The biggest segment of viewers were in the age 55 and over category, with over 10.6 million tuning in.
- Some outlets brought in special guests for their coverage: Clinton impeachment special counsel Kenneth Starr popped up on Fox News, while former Trump chief of staff Reince Priebus exchanged barbs with CBS’ Norah O’Donnell.
- Diplomat Bill Taylor dropped new details during his Wednesday testimony, revealing that one of his aides overheard a phone conversation between President Trump and EU ambassador Gordon Sondland that provided the clearest link yet between the president and Rudy Giuliani’s shadow foreign policy in Ukraine.
What to watch for: If Friday’s impeachment hearings ratings will draw more viewers over Wednesday’s, with ousted Ukraine ambassador Marie Yovanovitch taking the stand. And whether people will continue to watch next week’s hearings, which will include testimony from Sondland. Additionally, Trump said he would release records of another phone call between himself and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky.
It took place in April, before the July 25 call that set off the impeachment inquiry. Trump has called the April call “more important” than the July call, and said Tuesday that he would release those records sometime this week. Today In: Business
Key background: After weeks of closed-door hearings, House Democrats shifted their impeachment inquiry, which began September 24, into the public hearings phase Wednesday. It stemmed from the whistleblower’s report that alleged Trump sought help from Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.
The report, along with released records of a July phone call between Trump and Zelensky, became the basis of the Democrats’ inquiry. The House voted October 31 in favor of a resolution (including procedural rules) to move the impeachment inquiry forward. And Schiff announced last Wednesday that public hearings were set to begin this week.
Tangent: The televised Senate Watergate hearings, held during the fallout of Richard Nixon’s second term in 1973, were watched by 71% of Americans. And 1998 saw nearly 6 million people tune in to watch the House of Representatives publicly vote to impeach Bill Clinton, according to Reuters.