This coming Tuesday, after a long and gruelling campaign, American voters will finally determine the next president of the United States. One big U.S. winner, however, has already been crowned in Canada: CNN.
The Atlanta-based U.S. cable news network has seen ratings soar in Canada in the run up to the presidential election, “Trumping” the competition.
For the final presidential debate on October 19, CNN saw its share of Canadian viewers climb above the 1.5 million mark in overnight estimates. Broken down into half-hour periods, CNN pulled an estimated 1.2, 1.3, 1.5 and 1.1 million viewers between the hours of 9:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. ET.
That dwarfs the overnight estimates registered by CBC News Network, which drew 428,000, 400,000, 300,000 and 194,000 on the same day and times. Further behind was CTV News Channel, clocking in at 112,000, 117,000, 125,000 and 108,000 estimated viewers.
Only a Major League Baseball playoff game between Toronto and Cleveland on Sportsnet (2.7 million) and an episode of “Survivor” on Global (1.6 million) beat CNN in Canada on that night.
About a year ago, on an average October weeknight, CNN trailed the two Canadian news outlets.
On October 27, 2023, CNN drew about 45,000 viewers in Canada, compared to 272,000 for CBC News Network and 64,000 for CTV News Channel.
CNN is also on a roll in the United States. For the first time in 15 years, CNN has beaten Fox News in key metrics (available on fewer cable and satellite packages, Fox News ratings are negligible in Canada) and has topped MSNBC for 28 straight months. It also just enjoyed its most-watched month in 11 years.
“CNN in the U.S. has seen a noticeable uptick in the ratings, narrowing the gap against Fox News and actually beating them on occasion, by offering a more unbiased view of the upcoming presidential election,” said Marc Berman, editor-in-chief of Programming Insider.
“With more breaking news, more original programming and a growing roster of on-air personalities, CNN is the absolute hot ticket at present among the cable news networks. Fox News, in contrast, is too heavily focused solely on the Republican ticket and that has been costly.”
Besides CNN, the U.S. election has also boosted another TV franchise in Canada: “Saturday Night Live.” According to Numeris, ratings for the long-running satirical showcase soared October 22, a few days after the final debate. Close to 1.3 million total Global viewers laughed along with Alec Baldwin’s impersonation of Donald Trump and Kate McKinnon’s take on Hillary Clinton.
Normally, “Saturday Night Live” draws closer to a half-million viewers per episode in Canada.
Also getting a “Trump bump” in the U.S.: “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah,” seen in Canada on The Comedy Network. It’s coming off its most-watched month ever in October, scoring as the No. 1 daily late night talk show among millennial men. The series will air a live, hour-long “Democalypse 2023” election night special.
In Canada, also on Comedy, the new satirical news program “The Beaverton” launches the day after the U.S. election. Hosted by Emma Hunter and Miguel Rivas, the made-in-Toronto series just shot two versions of its premiere episode: one if Clinton wins, and one, as Rivas put it, “if it’s the apocalypse.”