UPDATE, 2:39 PM: Joe Biden is leading in the polls against Donald Trump and it looks like the former Vice-President has topped the ratings obsessed ex-Celebrity Apprentice host on the small screen too.
Live from Miami in front of a masked and social distanced crowd, NBC Nightly News’ Decision 2020 Town Hall with Biden is the most watched political event in the arena format this campaign, according to Nielsen.
Simulcast across NBC, MSNBC and CNBC and hosted by Lester Holt, the one-hour town call averaged 6.7 million viewers. That’s a big reach that resulted in a 68% leap over the viewership for Trump’s September 15 town hall on ABC. Up against the NFL on CBS and ESPN, plus Dancing With The Stars on ABC, Biden’s primetime stint on the Comcast-owned outlets was a 97% improvement over the viewership for the ex-VP’s CNN town hall on September 17.
Breaking it down, Biden was seen by 3.9 million on NBC itself, matching Trump on the Disney-owned network. Up on the cable dial, 2.7 million watched on MSNBC and 171,000 on CNBC.
Additionally, 2 million watched Biden’s town hall on. the NBC News NOW streamer
Of course, last night’s total viewership was way way down from the 73.1 million that saw Biden’s first POTUS debate (if you could call it that) with Trump on September 29. Whether the incumbent’s infection with COVID-19 pumps up interest in the duo’s second debate on October 15 remains to be seen — as does if the debate even ends up happening at all.
PREVIOUSLY, 8:53 AM: Joe Biden’s taken on a lot of opponents over the years, but the NFL and COVID-19 threw out the David vs. Goliath script last night, at least in the ratings.
Rescheduled from Sunday after New England quarterback Cam Newton and Kansas City practice squad quarterback Jordan Ta’amu tested positive for the coronavirus over the weekend, the 7 p.m. ET kickoff between the Patriots and Chiefs was the bigger winner Monday night. Led by QB Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City thrashed the Patriots 26-10 and conquered the night for CBS with 12.7 million viewers and a 3.6 rating among adults 18-49 in the early numbers.
The fast affiliates will change later, but ain’t nobody catching up with this unique Monday game on a broadcast network, and that includes the former Vice President of the United States.
In a socially distanced live town hall at 8 p.m. ET from Miami, the poll-leading Biden took questions from NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt and a curated selection of undecided voters. On the night a COVID-19 infected and visibly short of breath Donald Trump made a seemingly premature return to the White House from Walter Reed Medical Center, there was only one topic at hand, and Biden was in fine form.
However, in terms of the ratings, the town hall snared a 0.5 among the key demo and 3.8 million viewers in the unadjusted metrics. Again, like the NFL results, the numbers are sure to change, but right now they are down 17% among the 18-49 and 4% in sets of eyeballs from what Trump received when he appeared at an ABC News town hall on September 15.
Having said that, another qualifier must be added here: Unlike Trump’s stint on the Disney-owned network last month, Biden’s town hall last night also aired live on MSNBC and CNBC – which certainly had viewers of their own.
In addition, last night also saw an 8:50 p.m. ET-starting Monday Night Football on ESPN as the Green Bay Packers beat the Atlanta Falcons 30-16. Which, just venturing a guess, probably attracted a fair-sized audience, too.
Overall, in the early numbers, CBS won primetime with a 2.6 rating and 9.4 million viewers. Among the rest, NBC and Univision were tied for third place among the 18-49s with a 0.4.
There was more on TV besides politics and pro football last night. Leading out of Biden’s town hall on NBC was American Ninja Warrior (0.4, 2.13M), which dipped to season lows.
Meanwhile, at ABC, Dancing with the Stars (0.9, 6.01M) dropped in the demo while Emergency Call (0.6, 3.49M) slipped a tenth from last week’s debut. However, it should be noted that ABC’s numbers will be adjusted in finals due to local market NFL preemptions in Atlanta and Milwaukee.
At Fox, L.A.’s Finest (0.3, 1.65M) was down from last week while the freshman series Filthy Rich (0.3, 2.05M) held steady. The CW served fresh episodes of Whose Line Is It Anyway (0.2, 845,000) and Penn & Teller: Fool Us (0.2, 752K).
We will update with all the NFL numbers as well as total numbers from Biden’s town hall later today.