Jimmy Fallon mocks dismal CNN viewership while discussing Biden-Trump debate

Jimmy Fallon mocks dismal CNN viewership while discussing Biden-Trump debate

Late-night host Jimmy Fallon mocked CNN on Wednesday for the network’s grim ratings while discussing the upcoming debate between President Biden and former President Trump. 

During his “Tonight Show” monologue, Fallon announced that Biden and Trump had agreed to participate in two debates, the first of which CNN will host on June 27. It will mark the earliest a presidential debate has ever occurred in an election cycle, a point that Fallon used to joke about the two candidates’ ages. 

“If we’re being honest, an early bird debate feels right for these guys,” Fallon said. 


Biden’s team demanded several critical restrictions for the match-up, one of which calls for a debate inside a televised studio without a live audience. 

“The debates should be conducted for the benefit of the American voters, watching on television and at home — not as entertainment for an in-person audience with raucous or disruptive partisans and donors, who consume valuable debate time with noisy spectacles of approval or jeering,” Biden’s campaign wrote in a letter to the Commission on Presidential Debates.

Fallon, discussing the restriction, received raucous applause from the audience when he poked fun at CNN. 

“Biden and Trump will meet on June 27 on CNN, and one of Biden’s debate conditions was not having an audience, so that explains why it’s on CNN,” Fallon joked. 

When it comes to the advertiser-coveted demographic of adults age 25-54, Fox News averaged 156,000 total day viewers in April compared to 88,000 apiece for CNN and MSNBC. During primetime, Fox News averaged 219,000 viewers from the critical category while MSNBC had 114,000 and CNN finished with 113,000.


Fox News averaged 1.3 million total day viewers, finishing April as the only network on basic cable to surpass the one-million viewer mark. MSNBC finished second with 864,000 average viewers and ESPN finished third with 784,000.

CNN did not crack the top 3. 

The network is expected to impose several other debate restrictions that the Biden campaign pushed. The campaign said the debate must be one versus one, with no third-party candidates allowed.

This is a critical demand since would exclude Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a long-shot independent candidate who has nevertheless made his presence known in polls. Kennedy has been shown to be more effective at leaching Democratic voters than Republican ones, making him a greater threat to Biden.

The Biden campaign also demanded that both candidates’ microphones be muted once their allotted speaking time expires.

“There should be firm time limits for answers, and alternate turns to speak — so that the time is evenly divided and we have an exchange of views, not a spectacle of mutual interruption. A candidate’s microphone should only be active when it is his turn to speak, to promote adherence to the rules and orderly proceedings,” the campaign wrote.

Fox News’ Brian Flood contributed to this report. 

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