It was a historical night on Thursday to see the first woman as the Presidential nominee of a major American political party take the stage at the Democratic National Convention and deliver her oration to the delegates and those watching online and on TV. And there were a lot of people watching Hillary Clinton on NBC, CBS and ABC in the 10 PM ET slot as the nets went live to Philadelphia for the last night of the DNC – but not as many as in 2012 and far behind a repeat of a certain science geek sitcom
Compared to then reelection candidate Barack Obama’s primetime remarks on the closing night of the 2012 DNC on September 6 of that year, last night’s HRC speech was down nearly 40% in the combined key demo early numbers ratings. That speech went on to snag 35.7 million total viewers over 13 networks, a drop of 2.7 million from when then Sen. Obama first accepted his party’s nomination in 2008.
However, in fast affiliate ratings, the final day of the DNC was a mixed bag from what Trump and the RNC drew on July 21. Getting a 0.9/3, NBC is in the top spot as it has been all week but declining 18% among adults 18-49 from its RNC coverage the week before. CBS was second with a 0.8/3, which was up a tenth from the RNC on July 21, and ABC was next with a 0.7/3, even with Trump’s speech. Metered market results had Clinton’s nearly 1-hour remarks pulling almost the same as GOP rival Donald Trump’s 78-minute RNC speech on July 21. In fast affiliates, last week’s RNC got a combined rating of 2.5 among the 18-49s on ABC, NBC, and CBS last Thursday in the same 10 PM slot.
Viewershipwise, a total of 10.25 million watched the DNC coverage on the Big 3 in the 10 – 11 PM ET hour. The RNC was a touch better on July 12 in early numbers with 10.65 million watching. In both cases, NBC was the most watched with 4.02 million last week and 3.73 million last night. With adjustments expected later, NBC was up 29% from the early numbers of July 27 when Obama spoke at the DNC 2016 ABC matched its DNC Day 3 in the early ratings and CBS saw a 100% surge in the key demo.
While we’re still waiting on the overall numbers with cable newers and more factored in, the immediate comparison is not a low bar for Clinton and the DNC to get over. The final night of the RNC on July 21 ended up drawing 32.2 million viewers on Fox Business Network, CNBC, Univision, NBC Universo, ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC and Fox News Channel, with the latter topping the night with an audience of 9.49 million. That’s almost 5 million more viewers overall than watched Mitt Romney’s RNC acceptance speech in 2012.
Overall, CBS won the night with a 1.3/5 rating and 4.99 million viewers – fueled in great part by a The Big Bang Theory repeat that was the second highest rated (1.3/6) and most watched (6.74 million) show of the night – and matched last week’s encore in the demo. NBC was a far second with a 0.8/3 and 3.15 million viewers. Big Brother (1.8/7) actually topped the night ratingswise and rose a tenth from last week for the House of Moonves.
After an introduction by her daughter Chelsea and a biopic produced by Scandal EPs Shonda Rhimes and Betsy Beers, Hillary Clinton got the DNC roaring with slams at Trump. “A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons,” the ex-Secretary of the State said of the ex-Celebrity Apprentice host, which became the takeaway zinger of the night.
As that BBT encore and BB shows, there was more on TV last night than the DNC. ABC saw BattleBots (0.8/3) up a tenth from its July 21 show as was a double dose of Home Free (0.5/2) from last week’s 1-hour broadcast. A Hollywood Game Night (0.7/3) on NBC beat out ABC’s Greatest Hits (0.6/2), down by a tenth, in the 9 PM slot. The CW’s Beauty and the Beast (0.2/1) was the same as last week.