The Stormy Daniels interview produced the highest ratings for “60 Minutes” since 2008, delivering more than 23 million viewers on Sunday night, according to preliminary numbers provided by Nielsen Media Research.
The interview, conducted by correspondent Anderson Cooper, who also serves as a CNN host, will likely go down as the highest-rated for the news magazine since Barack and Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaObama ponders creating ‘a million young Barack Obamas’ Obama tweets message of support to ‘March for Our Lives’ participants Obama Foundation announces new job training program for Chicago students MORE ‘s first major interview following the 2008 presidential election, which drew 24.5 million viewers.
For context, President TrumpDonald John TrumpMcCaskill: Clinton should be more careful in how she describes Trump voters Stormy Daniels lawyer slams critics who say there was ‘nothing new’ in ’60 Minutes’ interview Costello won’t seek reelection in Pennsylvania MORE ‘s first interview post-election in November 2016 attracted 16.4 million viewers. Vice President Pence joined the president for that sit-down.
Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, is locked in a legal battle with Trump over a $130,000 payment she received weeks before the 2016 election. The adult-film star says the payment was part of a nondisclosure agreement regarding an affair she says she had with Trump a decade earlier. Daniels and her lawyer argue the document is not valid because Trump never signed it.
The White House denies that claim.
The tawdry details of the CBS interview included Daniels saying that in 2006 she asked Trump to pull down his pants so she could spank him with a magazine bearing his face on the cover, to which Trump agreed.
The 39-year-old also said she was threatened to stay quiet about the affair in 2011, when an unidentified man approached her in a Las Vegas parking lot after she had agreed to tell her version of the alleged affair to a magazine.
“Leave Trump alone. Forget the story,” a man allegedly told her.
Daniels also claims the man looked at her young daughter and said, “It’d be a shame if something happened to her mom.”
The interview was conducted earlier this month.
From a ratings perspective, “60 Minutes” also had the benefit of an exciting NCAA basketball tournament game as its lead-in. The University of Kansas topped Duke University in an overtime thriller, 85-81, to advance to the Final Four next weekend.
Final ratings numbers will be released Monday afternoon.
Updated at 10:13 a.m.