Donald Trump’s first post election interview will be with 60 Minutes, the CBS flagship which will air at 7pm US time Sunday, (11am Monday, Sydney time) with reporter Lesley Stahl. She was record the interview at Trump’s New York apartment on 5th Avenue tonight our time. Stahl will also talk to Trump’s wife Melania, as well as his children Ivanka, Tiffany, Eric, and Donald Jr, according to CBS.

Seeing Fox News had a lock on Trump for most of the election campaign proper (he did fawning interviews with Fox hosts and Trump supporters, Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly), there will be quite a lot of noses out of joint at the Murdoch channel. Earlier in the campaign (mostly in the primaries), Trump mixed up his interviews between the cable channels and the networks. But in July Stahl interviewed Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence for 60 Minutes, their first interview together after the former named the latter as his running mate.

This first for 60 Minutes shows that despite the fragmenting of the US TV audience and the rise of social media and the cable news channels, the US original 60 Minutes maintains its clout (and interest in politics) as the pre-eminent current affairs program in the country. It is a sharp contrast to the way the Australian version has lost that clout and drifted away to being the Sunday version of A Current Affair: lightweight in staff and content. It had little or no interest in the July 2 election campaign for instance. Now will Nine here have the sense to air the interview on Monday night? Nine currently has RBT in the 7.30pm slot on Monday night, followed by Hyde and Seek, the disappointing crime show, followed by a program on Australia’s toughest criminals. Any one of the trio could easily be junked to slot in the Trump interview. Or will Nine be lazy and run it the following Sunday, a week late and out of date?

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Meanwhile, more records for US cable news channels from, of all things, Hillary Clinton’s concession speech. Preliminary ratings data show that 15.3 million people watched the speech in the hour from 11 am to noon, Wednesday, New York time. 7.9 million of those watched it on Fox News, 5.4 million watched on CNN and 2.2 million on MSNBC. For all three these figures exceeded their prime time ratings Wednesday night. Even though more people watched the three presidential debates on free to air TV in the US, the election campaign as a whole – from the various primaries last year through to Wednesday confirm that the cable news channels are now collectively the dominant force in US media coverage.

CNN and Fox News out rated the free to air giants such as NBC and CBS on election night, they have left the print media in their wake (although the Washington Post is the only paper to emerge from the campaign with any credit). This is despite the slow loss of cable subscribers generally as cord cutting continues, especially among younger consumers. So given that, it is interesting that Trump chose the old fashioned 60 Minutes for his first big post-win interview. He is of an old media age (70) and a native of New York, where big old-fashioned media still dominates and where 60 Minutes and its manager CBS are based (although its owner, Sumner Redstone is a bit gaga and in a nursing home somewhere in America). Fox News and CNN are also in New York as well (and with significant operations in Atlanta and Los Angles respectively). His core audience are heavy viewers of Fox News, but not CNN which has a younger demo as its core. But CBS and 60 Minutes “skew” old towards his core.

Back home and on what was a depressingly dull night of viewing, a couple under performers stood out: A Current Affair lost 150,000 to 200,000 metro viewers and its audience in the five capital cities totalled just 678,000 (and 970,000 nationally). Ten News fell averaged 399,000 in the five metro markets which was also off the pace. And 7.30 had a stronger audience than usual on a Thursday night: 802,000 metro is more like a Monday night. Was it Paul Keating tell us to junk Trump America, or John Howard’s fawning? 7.30’s national audience was 1.107 million, also high for a Thursday night. Nine News nationally averaged 1.177 million, Seven News, 1.553 million: a difference of a rather large 376,000 viewers.

In the regions, Seven News was tops with 551,000; Home and Away was second with 493,000; Seven News/Today Tonight was third with 452,000; The 5.30pm part of The Chase Australia was next with 401,000 and the 7pm ABC News was 5th with 342,000.

On pay TV, Sky News topped the viewing for the second night in a row, with the top program, Paul Murray Live. — Click here to read Glenn Dyer’s full TV Ratings.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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