Comey testimony watched by an estimated 19.5 million viewers

Almost 19.5 million viewers watched in a live broadcast Thursday's testimony by former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey before the Senate Information Committee members, according to Nielsen. USA broadcast networks interrupted regular programming to air live coverage of Mr Comey's more than two hours of remarks before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

CNN drew more than 1 million adults 25-54 to top all cable and broadcast networks, according to Nielsen. Comey alleges Trump repeatedly pressed him for his "loyalty" and directly pushed him to "lift the cloud" of investigation by declaring publicly the president was not the target of the probe into his campaign's Russian Federation ties.

The major outlets divided Thursday's audience up fairly evenly, with leader ABC's 3.295 million viewers followed closely by CBS with 3.286 million.

Football's Super Bowl, traditionally the year's most-watched USA television broadcast, attracted 111 million viewers in February.

The television ratings do not include the crowds that watched the highly anticipated congressional hearing at bars and restaurants around the country or online through services like Twitter and YouTube.

Chartbeat, a data analytics firm, said that more than 900,000 people read articles related to Comey across the internet at any 5-minute interval between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.

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