Fox News Channel viewers tune out for John Lewis' funeral

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2020 Atlanta Journal Constitution

Former President Barack Obama, addresses the service during the funeral for the late Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Thursday, July 30, 2020. (Alyssa Pointer/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP, Pool)

NEW YORK – Fox News Channel viewers are usually a loyal bunch, but thousands looked for the “off” switch during last week's telecast of civil rights icon John Lewis' funeral.

Fox News, like the broadcast and other cable news networks, aired Lewis' funeral last Thursday, when former presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama spoke.

During the hour before the funeral's start, Fox averaged 1.67 million viewers, the Nielsen company said. In the same hour, MSNBC had 1.28 million viewers and CNN had 1.25 million.

Once the funeral started, half of Fox's viewers slipped away while the audience increased for its rivals, Nielsen said.

During the 2 p.m. hour, Fox had 595,000 viewers, Nielsen said. MSNBC had 2.25 million and CNN had 1.97 million at the same time.

Things were back to normal by the time Fox News was airing “The Five” at 5 p.m. Eastern. That show had 3.2 million, while CNN and MSNBC combined reached 3.85 million.

A day earlier, Fox's daytime viewership ranged between 2 million and 2.4 million, while CNN and MSNBC were in the 1.2 to 1.6 million range, Nielsen said. CNN's “Reliable Sources” first reported the funeral ratings.

During prime time last week, CBS led broadcasters with an average of 3.2 million viewers. NBC had 2.8 million viewers, ABC had 2.3 million, Fox had 1.6 million, Univision had 1.5 million, ION Television had 1.2 million and Telemundo had 910,000.