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Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden's swearing in and inaugural address drew nearly 40 million viewers, beating Trump's 38.35 million viewers in 2017, according to preliminary figures from Nielsen.

Details: CNN led the main cable and broadcast networks, followed by ABC, MSNBC, NBC and CBS. Fox News, which led ratings during almost every major presidential event in 2020, finished last.

  • Viewership held steady throughout the day's events.
  • Nearly 30 million people tuned in across the six networks between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. EST.
  • Roughly 24.6 million tuned into the star-studded event in prime time hosted by Tom Hanks.

The big picture: The figures, which don't include data from households that may have streamed the event, show that despite all of the drama in Washington, the country was still eager to watch its new president be sworn in.

Go deeper

The week the Trump show ended

Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Donald Trump was eclipsed in media attention last week by President Biden for the first time since Trump took office, according to viewership data on the internet, on social media and on cable news.

Why it matters: After Trump crowded out nearly every other news figure and topic for five years, momentum of the new administration took hold last week and the former president retreated, partly by choice and partly by being forced off the big platforms.

Biden explains justification for Syria strike in letter to Congress

Photo: Chris Kleponis/CNP/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden told congressional leadership in a letter Saturday that this week's airstrike against facilities in Syria linked to Iranian-backed militia groups was consistent with the U.S. right to self-defense.

Why it matters: Some Democrats, including Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), have criticized the Biden administration for the strike and demanded a briefing.

6 hours ago - Health

FDA authorizes Johnson & Johnson's one-shot COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use

Photo: Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration on Saturday issued an emergency use authorization for Johnson & Johnson's one-shot coronavirus vaccine.

Why it matters: The authorization of a third coronavirus vaccine in the U.S. will help speed up the vaccine rollout across the country, especially since the J&J shot only requires one dose as opposed to Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech's two-shot vaccines.