Fox News beat ALL other networks for SOTU ratings

The State of the Union marked an overall ratings win and a secondary victory against cable competitors for one outlet in a key demographic.

After President Joe Biden flitted from topic to topic during his 66-minute-long ramble Thursday night, talking heads set to spinning what was actually said with how they wanted viewers to react. Out of 14 top cable and broadcast networks covering the address, Fox News walked away for the third year in a row on the top of the ratings pile.

According to Nielsen data, over 32.2 million people tuned in live to watch Biden give what could be his final State of the Union address, marking his second biggest audience for the annual speech. Out of that total, Fox News roped in more than 5.8 million viewers, beating out its cable competition.

The Hollywood Reporter detailed, “Fox News led all outlets with 5.84 million viewers for Biden’s speech, beating out the 5.24 million for ABC, which had the biggest tune-in among the broadcast networks. NBC’s 4.47 million viewers finished third, followed by MSNBC (4.43 million, its biggest audience ever for a State of the Union), CBS (4.09 million), CNN (2.63 million) and the Fox broadcast network (1.77 million).”

With Univision and Telemundo bringing more than 1 million viewers combined, THR noted, “The remaining 1.89 million viewers came via CNNe, Fox Business, Newsmax, NewsNation and PBS.”

The various outlets weren’t only vying for the biggest audience as they also competed for the largest share of the key 25-54 age demographic.

All viewers under the age of 55 amounted to over a quarter of the viewership for Biden’s speech with the majority of the audience tuned in to the broadcast network coverage.

While NBC scored the biggest haul for the 25-54 demographic at about 1.18 million, Fox News exceeded fellow cable channels with about 1.14 million viewers compared to around 710,000 for CNN and 695,000 for MSNBC.

Fox also beat out the other networks as ABC had wrangled around 1.07 million of the 25-54 crowd and CBS took in about 824,000.

For the president, the figures represented 18% higher total viewership than his 2023 speech which had garnered over 27 million in ratings, but it remained a decrease from 2022 when the Russian invasion of Ukraine had begun and more than 38 million Americans watched to see what Biden would say.

Meanwhile, as Fox News continued a three-year streak at the top of the cable pile, its ratings had added 20% over the previous year.

Comparing Biden’s viewership to then-President Donald Trump, only one of the predecessor’s speeches had been surpassed as the 2020 State of the Union had brought in an audience of over 37 million. The previous three years for Trump brought in more than 47.7 million, 45.5 million and 46.7 million respectively, well outpacing the average for then-President Barack Obama’s second term around more than 32 million.

Obama’s first address to a joint session of Congress picked up over 52 million while then-President Bill Clinton had almost 67 million for his first address.

Kevin Haggerty


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