Watergate redux? Trump impeachment inquiry heads for live TV

President Donald Trump's impeachment inquiry makes its debut on national television starting Wednesday, with a repeat of Watergate's TV impact seen as unlikely.

Back in 1973, tens of millions of Americans tuned in to what Variety called "the hottest daytime soap opera" — the Senate Watergate hearings.

They eventually led to President Richard Nixon's resignation.

By some estimates, more than 80% of Americans tuned in to at least part of the Watergate telecasts. Seeing the witnesses lay out the case against Nixon moved public opinion decidedly in favor of impeachment.

But this time may be different.

When the House impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump begins its public phase on Wednesday, people will be watching on screens large and small. Many are likely to be watching on more than one screen, with real-time reinforcement of their views about Trump on social media platforms and other venues that didn't exist in Nixon's time.