Former FBI director James Comey's dramatic testimony before Congress last Thursday brought big audiences to USA broadcast and cable networks, drawing about 19.5 million viewers, according to data from the Nielsen ratings agency.
During his appearance, Comey said he believed the president dismissed him in May to try to undermine a Federal Bureau of Investigation probe into possible collusion between Trump's 2016 presidential campaign team and Russian Federation.
The television networks shut down their regular program flow to broadcast live the nearly three-hour-long filing of the former Federal Bureau of Investigation director regarding his multiple talks with the United States president before the Donld Trump dismissed him in May.
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An estimated 19.5 million viewers watched James Comey's widely televised U.S. Senate testimony. Updated figures with additional channels were expected to be released later on Friday.
Fox News placed first Thursday in terms of cable-news audiences, Nielsen reported. And the opening day of the Watergate hearings in 1973 drew about nine million viewers on the three commercial networks, NBC said at the time.
Total viewership for the highly anticipated event fell short of the 30.6 million who watched President Donald Trump's inauguration January 20. It also edged out rival CNN, by just a hair (3.049 million) and handily beat MSNBC's audience of 2.719 million viewers.