Is Sean Spicer Becoming Daytime TV’s Newest Star?
- Spicer’s briefings are scoring higher ratings than daytime soap operas.
With Donald Trump being the self proclaimed ratings king, it’s no surprise that Sean Spicer is getting millions of views. There is a serious trickle down effect taking place in Trumps inner circle and that’s coming in the form of TV ratings. Sean Spicer’s spicy press conferences have garnished a lot of attention and network news is capitalizing on Spicer’s popularity.
He is no match for “The Young and the Restless.” But he is beating “The Bold and the Beautiful.”
Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary whose early tenure has prompted political fireworks and late-night parodies, may be struggling to settle in behind the lectern. On the airwaves, however, he is daytime television’s new big hit.
Mr. Spicer’s briefings, carried live by the major cable news networks, are pulling in an average of 4.3 million viewers, according to data from Nielsen. Audiences across Fox News, MSNBC and CNN grow by an average of 10 percent when Mr. Spicer comes onscreen to discuss the latest news on President Trump, statistics show.
The soap opera at the White House is outscoring actual soaps like “General Hospital” and “The Bold and the Beautiful,” which typically air around the same time. Mr. Spicer’s ratings are on par with prime-time entertainment like “MasterChef Junior” on Fox and the ABC sitcom “Dr. Ken,” which draw around four million viewers each.
The big ratings offer a quantifiable measure for what has become a truism in Washington: Three weeks into the Trump administration, Mr. Spicer’s daily joust with reporters — peppered with fiery exchanges, memorable malapropisms and some much discussed dissembling — are now must-see-TV for the political class.
“There’s huge interest in everything Trump does, and Sean is benefiting from that,” said Alex Conant, a Republican consultant who helped lead Senator Marco Rubio’s presidential campaign. “Depending on your perspective, you either tune in to watch Sean defend the indefensible, or to watch media bias in action.”
The interest in Mr. Spicer’s briefings coincides with a spike in cable news viewership over all. Since Inauguration Day, Fox News’s audience from 1 to 3 p.m. on weekdays has grown to about 2.2 million, up 62 percent from the previous year. CNN and MSNBC have also seen big increases in daytime audiences.