President Biden’s appearance on “60 Minutes” this week may have given the venerable news program a ratings bounce, but he still drew a smaller audience than his two immediate predecessors.
Roughly 10 million people spent Sunday night watching Mr. Biden on the CBS news magazine, according to data from the Nielsen company.
That was 40% of the 24.5 million viewers who turned in to “60 Minutes” to watch President Obama’s first post-election interview in November 2008. It was the show’s highest ratings in more than a decade.
Mr. Obama’s follow-up appearance in December 2019, after he left office, drew 16.2 million, according to Nielsen data.
President Trump attracted 16.8 million total views when sat down for a contentious interview with “60 Minutes” correspondent Lesley Stahl in October 2020.
Republicans say they weren’t surprised by Biden’s TV ratings.
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“No wonder the ratings were so poor: Americans knew Biden was going to lie about his failed record. Soaring grocery costs, out-of-control crime, and an unsecured southern border are top of mind for voters,” said Republican National Committee spokesman Nathan Brand.
Although Mr. Biden pulled lower numbers, it is hard to compare the ratings for each president. Television ratings are influenced by a multitude of factors, including competing shows and world events. The ratings drop may also reflect an overall decline in viewership for “60 Minutes” over the past few years.
The ratings for Mr. Trump’s 2020 appearance managed to top both a World Series game and a “Sunday Night Football” matchup which both aired at the same time. But Mr. Biden this week brought in half as many viewers as “Sunday Night Football.”
The Bears-Packers game on Sunday was the highest-rated program of the week ending Sept. 18, scoring nearly 20 million viewers. NBC’s football pregame show that ran against a portion of Mr. Biden’s interview attracted roughly 14.6 million viewers, according to Nielsen’s data.
Mr. Biden’s appearance on “60 Minutes” was only the nonfootball show among the eight highest-rated shows last week.
Although Mr. Biden was no match for the NFL, he did help boost the ratings for “60 Minutes,” which has been on the air since 1968.
In the spring, the news magazine averaged roughly 7.6 million viewers and was the highest-rated prime-time program for five out of nine weeks at the beginning of this year.
The interview with Mr. Biden was the first the president had with an American TV journalist in nearly seven months. The last time Mr. Biden did a network television interview was on Feb. 10 with NBC News.