Tucker Carlson’s Fox News interview with acquitted Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse was watched by more than 5 million viewers on Monday night – more than twice the number who tuned in to rivals CNN and MSNBC combined.
Rittenhouse was acquitted on murder charges last week and Carlson was given the chance for the post-trial interview because of the support he had shown him, according to the 18-year-old’s family.
The Rittenhouse interview on Tucker Carlson Tonight was by far the most watched cable news program between 8pm and 8pm Eastern time on Monday night.
The MSNBC program that goes head to head with Carlson’s – All In with Chris Hayes – was watched by 1.2 million viewers – slightly more than one-fifth of the Fox News viewership.
Coming in a distant third was CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360, which attracted just 792,000 viewers, according to Mediaite. That means the Fox News audience was six time largers than that of CNN during that time span.
Monday’s CNN program was guest-hosted by John Berman, who was filling in for the vacationing Anderson Cooper.
Carlson’s ratings were also lopsided among the coveted demographic of viewers between the ages of 25 and 54.
The Rittenhouse interview drew an audience of 913,000 viewers in that demographic, which is most prized by advertisers.
Tucker Carlson’s Fox News interview with acquitted Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse was watched by more than 5 million viewers on Monday night – more than twice the number who tuned in to rivals CNN and MSNBC combined
The MSNBC program that goes head to head with Carlson’s – All In with Chris Hayes (left) – was watched by 1.2 million viewers – slightly more than one-fifth of the Fox News viewership. Coming in a distant third was CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360, which attracted just 792,000 viewers. Monday’s CNN program was guest-hosted by John Berman (right), who was filling in for the vacationing Anderson Cooper
Carlson easily beats Cooper, whose show drew just 193,000 viewers. Hayes’ program was watched by just 159,000 people in the 25-54 demographic.
Carlson isn’t just destroying his competitors on other networks. He is also generating a higher viewership than the major stars on his own channel.
Fox News Channel’s 5pm gabfest The Five was watched by 3.72 million on Monday – a solid number but nonetheless lagging behind Carlson.
Sean Hannity, whose show comes right after Carlson’s, reached an audience on Monday of 3.28 million.
Carlson has averaged 3.16 million viewers on a typical night this year, the Nielsen company said.
ABC News and Diane Sawyer had strong ratings for her Friday night interview with members of a California family held captive for many years by their parents.
That 20/20 episode reached more than 7.4 million viewers.
Fox broadcasting was the top-rated network in prime time last week, averaging 5.4 million viewers.
NBC had 4.8 million, CBS had 4.5 million, ABC had 4.1 million, Univision had 1.5 million, Telemundo had 1 million and Ion Television had 880,000.
Fox News Channel was the most-watched cable news channel in prime time, averaging 2.89 million viewers.
ESPN had 2.31 million, Hallmark had 1.58 million, MSNBC had 1.18 million and HGTV had 893,000.
ABC’s World News Tonight won the evening news ratings race with an average of 8.3 million viewers. NBC’s Nightly News had 7.2 million and the CBS Evening News had 5.4 million.
Rittenhouse, who was acquitted on charges stemming from killing two men and wounding another during the unrest that followed the shooting of a black man by a white police officer, said in a wide-ranging interview that aired Monday night he’s ‘not a racist person’ and supports the Black Lives Matter movement.
‘This case has nothing to do with race. It never had anything to do with race. It had to do with the right to self-defense,’ the 18-year-old told Carlson.
Rittenhouse is white, as were the men he shot.
Rittenhouse was 17 last year when he traveled 20 miles from his home in Antioch, Illinois, to Kenosha, Wisconsin, which had been racked with protests in the wake of the August 23 shooting of Jacob Blake.
Rittenhouse is comforted by his lawyer as he was acquitted of all charges at the Kenosha County Courthouse in Kenosha, Wis., on Friday
Rittenhouse, 18, collapsed in tears as the jury in his double murder trial acquitted him of all charges after four torturous days of deliberation and weeks of testimony
That shooting and the response in Kenosha – protests that turned destructive – became part of the national reckoning over police use of force against black people following George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis the previous May at the hands of police.
Rittenhouse, armed with an AR-style semiautomatic rifle, joined others who said they were intent on protecting private property from potential damage on August 25.
During his trial, prosecutors argued that the teenager was a ‘wannabe soldier’ who went looking for trouble that night.
Rittenhouse countered that he fired in self-defense after he was attacked and in fear for his life.
‘I thought they came to the correct verdict because it wasn’t Kyle Rittenhouse on trial in Wisconsin — it was the right to self defense on trial,’ Rittenhouse said in the interview.
‘And if I was convicted… no one would ever be privileged to defend their life against attackers.’
He said some people, including some who have made threats against him, are ‘too ignorant to look at the facts.’
The shootings quickly made Rittenhouse a rallying cry for supporters of Second Amendment rights and those angered by the sometimes violent protests seen in some American cities after Floyd’s death.
Rittenhouse was photographed in a bar before the trial with apparent members of the far-right Proud Boys.
Clearly disappointed, prosecutor Thomas Binger, who has been heavily criticized for his actions during the case, sat back in his chair, looked at the ceiling, and issued a sigh as the verdict came in
Rittenhouse fatally shot Joseph Rosenbaum (left), 36, with an AR-15-style semiautomatic rifle after Rosenbaum chased Rittenhouse across a parking lot and threw a plastic bag at him shortly before midnight on August 25, 2020. Moments later, as Rittenhouse was running down a street, he shot and killed Anthony Huber (right), 26, a protester from Silver Lake, Wisconsin
Rittenhouse’s attorneys have said he is not a white supremacist.
‘I’m not a racist person. I support the BLM movement, I support peacefully demonstrating,’ Rittenhouse told Carlson.
He said, ‘I feel like my life has been extremely defamed,’ and hinted that he may be taking action, saying: ‘I have really good lawyers who are taking care of that right now.’
He also hit hard at his former attorneys, John Pierce and Lin Wood, who he said used him to promote a ’cause’ as they raised $2million for his bail.
When asked about that over the weekend, Pierce said he had no comment.
Wood told The Associated Press that the foundation he heads, Fightback Foundation, raised money for Rittenhouse’s bail and publicly said the case was a Second Amendment issue.
‘I was not an attorney pushing for a cause,’ Wood said.
‘Fightback has a mission that includes the right to bear arms and self-defense.’
Rittenhouse told Carlson that he wishes the shootings in Kenosha ‘never would’ve happened.’
‘But it did, and we can’t change that. But how… polarized it became is absolutely sickening, like right or left, people using me for a cause that should never have been used as a cause.’
Rittenhouse said that his life is different from what he had planned.
He said he is taking college prerequisites to become a nurse and hopes to study on campus, but is now also thinking about studying law.
He plans to move from the Midwest, but is not exactly sure where he will go.
‘I’m going to go lay low and live my life and enjoy it,’ he said.
A jury last Friday found Rittenhouse not guilty on charges of homicide, attempted homicide and reckless endangering in the deaths of Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, and the wounding of Gaige Grosskreutz, now 28.