The first night of the Republican National Convention drew 15.8 million viewers across six networks, a significant falloff from the 18.7 million who tuned in to the Democratic National Convention’s debut evening.
Fox News was way ahead of its rivals in coverage during the 10 PM ET hour, with 7.1 million total viewers, followed by CNN with 2.01 million, ABC with 1.98 million, NBC with 1.74 million, MSNBC with 1.6 million and CBS with 1.5 million. In the 25-54 demographic, Fox News led with 1.6 million, followed by CNN with 606,000, NBC with 541,000, ABC with 521,000, CBS with 424,000 and MSNBC with 308,000.
The Fox News viewership was the highest rated for Night 1 of a Republican convention, and the network also topped the other broadcast networks combined and the cable networks combined.
The figures are early numbers from Nielsen and were released by Fox News and CNN. The total viewership number also is a drop of about 30% from the viewers who tuned in to the first night of the Republican convention in 2016.
The figures do not include digital streaming, which has grown substantially in the past four years. Democrats and Republicans have promoted expanding viewing on various platforms, albeit the forms of measurement can vary.
The coverage of the convention drew a rare point of praise from President Donald Trump, who wrote on Twitter on Tuesday morning, “Very appreciative that @CNN covered the vast majority of the Republican Convention last night. That was really good for CNN, while at the same time being good for our Country. Thank you!” Of the six networks, CNN provided the most uninterrupted carriage of the proceedings through its 2 1/2 hours.
The marquee speakers at the Republican convention were Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), Donald Trump Jr. and Nikki Haley, the former ambassador to the United Nations. Former first lady Michelle Obama was among the speakers on the first night of the Democratic National Convention last week.
Update: Nielsen released additional figures on viewership, showing that 17 million people tuned in for the first night of the Republican convention across a larger sampling of networks — 11 outlets. That compares to 19.7 million who watched the first night of the Democratic convention on those networks last week. The Republican convention viewership was down about 26% from 2016.
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