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Impeachment drama a viewership magnet for news networks

The impeachment drama surrounding President Donald Trump, or at least various spins on it, is a compelling television draw.

Fox News Channel, MSNBC and CNN collectively averaged just under 5.4 million viewers in prime time last week, the Nielsen company said. It was a week dominated by the news of the House Judiciary Committee’s vote to impeach Trump.

That puts the news on par with the NBC, Fox and CBS entertainment networks, which each averaged between 5.4 and 5.9 million viewers last week.

Thirty-four of the 40 most-watched cable programs last week were news shows, the bulk of them on Fox News Channel.

Ellen DeGeneres’ prime-time prize giveaway proved to be a holiday season winner for NBC, which led all networks with an average of 5.9 million viewers in prime time last week.

Fox was second with an average of 5.5 million viewers, Nielsen said. CBS had 5.4 million, ABC had 3.1 million, ION Television had 1.2 million, Univision had 1.1 million, the CW had 940,000 and Telemundo had 860,000.

Fox News Channel was the week’s most popular cable network, averaging 2.96 million viewers in prime time. ESPN had 2.39 million, Hallmark had 1.66 million, MSNBC had 1.55 million and A&E had 1.06 million.

ABC’s “World News Tonight” topped the evening newscasts with an average of 8.6 million viewers. NBC’s “Nightly News” was second with 8 million and the “CBS Evening News” had 5.8 million viewers.