In a pleasant, albeit temporary boost in viewership for the struggling network, CNN enjoyed near-record ratings when it hosted former President Donald Trump for a controversy-sparking town hall-style event on May 10.
As predicted at the time, however, the high would not last, and CNN's viewership ratings are actually worse now than they were before the Trump event, Breitbart reported.
That is most likely due to an exodus of previously loyal left-leaning CNN viewers who were outraged at the network for providing a platform for the hated former president to speak and be heard.
On May 11, Axios reported that the Nielsen TV ratings showed that CNN had drawn 3.3 million total viewers for its Trump town hall, which was just shy of the network's record of 3.4 million total viewers for a 2020 town hall-style event with then-candidate Joe Biden.
The Trump town hall event also drew more than 780,000 viewers in the key demographic of adults aged 25-54 that are targeted by advertisers, which is roughly four times more than regular host Anderson Cooper typically draws in that primetime hour.
Overall, the event also delivered a boost to the hours following the event with Trump as many viewers stuck around to watch the network's analysis and discussion of what the former president had said, even as it sparked an incredible backlash among some Democratic viewers and even some of CNN's own employees.
That boost was short-lived, though, as Newsweek reported less than a week later that CNN's ratings had plummeted back below the pre-town hall numbers, even dropping all the way to fourth place among cable news channels behind conservative network Newsmax.
Looking one day prior to the Trump town hall, CNN had averaged around 589,000 viewers in the primetime hours of 8-11 pm, but just three days later -- two days after the Trump event -- that primetime average had fallen to just 335,000.
Yet, if CNN thought that their ratings would bounce back to normal after some of the controversies of the Trump town hall had cooled off, they were sorely mistaken.
The Daily Mail reported that for the week that ended on May 19, the first full week following the Trump event, CNN's viewership remained low with a total daily viewer average of just 429,000 -- less than half of the 976,000 who watched MSNBC and around 1 million viewers less than Fox News.
That outlet further noted that, rather than just a short-term fluke, last week's primetime ratings for CNN also continued to fall just shy of those of Newsmax -- which has itself enjoyed a slight boost of likely former Fox News viewers who abandoned that network after it cut ties with former top-rated host Tucker Carlson.
The viewership numbers for CNN cited by the Daily Mail appeared to be somewhat more generous than what Breitbart had determined in its own review of the last full week after the Trump town hall event.
That outlet revealed that, in the weeks prior to the Trump event, CNN had averaged around 494,000 total primetime viewers with an average of 111,000 in the key demo, but in the full week after the event those figures had fallen to averages of 400,000 and 94,000, respectively.
Breitbart's John Nolte quipped in conclusion, "CNN believed it could destroy Trump, but as of right now, it looks as though Trump destroyed CNN. Leftist viewers will never forgive CNN for allowing Trump to look that good, and leftist viewers have all kinds of alternatives."