Rupert Murdoch’s TalkTV was the setting for an intriguing head-to-head battle last week as Rishi Sunak and Boris Johnson gave interviews to the channel on consecutive nights.
The broadcasts also marked a competition between Piers Morgan, TalkTV’s lead man whose interview with Sunak was broadcast on Thursday night, and Nadine Dorries, the ex-culture secretary, who kicked off her new Friday night show with a sit-down with her former boss, Johnson.
The results are in, and the Chatterer was somewhat surprised to learn that the Morgan-Sunak combo won by a significant margin.
Morgan’s conversation with Sunak drew an average 120,500 live television viewers between 8 and 9pm on Thursday, according to Barb figures reported by Press Gazette, while Dorries’s encounter with Johnson (who she reputedly once named as a “hero”) averaged 52,000.
Although he’s no Cristiano Ronaldo, Sunak managed to drag TalkTV’s ratings above the BBC News channel, Sky News and GB News. Dorries-Johnson beat Sky News and GB News. But, despite setting a TalkTV record for 8-9pm on a Friday, they still lagged behind BBC News.
There are some caveats: these are only live linear television viewing figures, so they ignore YouTube, social media views, TalkRadio listeners and catch-up views. Still, the figures provide a good indicator, and Morgan is probably feeling smug. Dorries less so.
[See also: Time for Rupert Murdoch to trade his empire for a legacy]