"Tuesday afternoon impeachment" is as big as "Monday Night Football"

After five full days of hearings across two weeks, the average live TV viewership for impeachment has been roughly 12 million people, according to Nielsen. Ratings have dipped slightly from a peak on Day 1, Nov. 13, which drew an audience of 13.1 million, but the drop-off is less than what many sitcoms see after a season premiere.

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And the numbers for cable news are superlative: Last week, Fox News notched its highest-rated week of the year in terms of total viewership. MSNBC enjoyed the best week in its 23-year history for total viewers.

Politics is driving television these days. Impeachment has upended networks’ daytime schedules, where the usual diversions of soap operas and “Ellen”-style chat shows have been usurped by stone-faced government officials offering soliloquies on Ukrainian politics.

From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., viewership of the big cable news networks — CNN, Fox News and MSNBC — on impeachment days has been nearly double the average from a year ago, according to Nielsen.

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