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9 February 2023

Rishi and Piers triumph over Boris and Nadine in TalkTV ratings battle

The channel’s interview with Sunak pulled in more than twice as many viewers as that with Johnson.

By The Chatterer

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.

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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. 

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[See also: Time for Rupert Murdoch to trade his empire for a legacy]

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