One name has been dominating television for weeks, and that roll is showing no signs of slowing down. Writing for the AP, veteran TV writer David Bauder reports that the name is Donald Trump.
“Opinion polls are one thing, but Nielsen numbers speak more loudly to television executives,” Bauder writes. “Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump’s ability to pull in viewers makes him catnip for news programs and wins a level of coverage that feeds on itself.”
Bauder notes that the NBC program “Meet the Press” had its largest viewing audience in more than a year on Aug. 16, when it featured a Trump interview. In response, both ABC’s “This Week” and CBS’s “Face the Nation” — rivals to “Meet the Press” — aired phone interviews with Trump this past Sunday.
“After CNN turned Jake Tapper’s interview with Trump into a prime-time special last week and earned its best ratings at that hour in a month, the network repeated it two nights later,” Bauder reports. “Two Trump interviews on Sean Hannity’s Fox News Channel show this month both brought in around 2.2 million viewers, well above his typical audience.”
Trump has also been widely cited as the single biggest reason the Republican debate on Fox News earlier this month delivered a massive audience of 24 million viewers, making it the most watched program in history for Fox News.
The report quotes TV consultant David Bohrman, a former CNN Washington bureau chief, saying of Trump: “He’s getting a lot of attention that he should get because he’s doing so well in the polls and he’s getting a lot of attention because he’s Donald Trump, and you never know what he’s going to say.”