The dueling town halls on competing networks crowned an early winner, at least ratings-wise: Early Nielsen ratings estimates declare Joe Biden the victor over Donald Trump.
The ratings service says 12.2 million viewers tuned into the former VP and Democratic candidate’s town hall on ABC from 8 to 10 EDT Thursday night, moderated by George Stephanopoulos, while 10.4 million watched Savannah Guthrie referee voters’ conversations with President Trump from 8 to 9 EDT on NBC. Head to head from 8 to 9, Biden had 12.7 million to Trump’s 10.4 million. But these early estimates are not adjusted for time zones, so they don’t measure town hall viewership on the West coast; nor do they include ratings for MSNBC and CNBC, which simulcasted the Trump town hall.
If the results hold, they are sure to enrage the ratings-obsessed president.
The planned second presidential debate became parallel town halls after the Commission on Presidential Debates announced plans to turn it virtual, Trump refused to participate, Biden arranged to do a town hall on ABC instead, and Trump made a similar pact with NBC and two of its cable channels for his own town hall at the same time. (A final debate remains scheduled for Oct. 22).
The town halls provided a stark contrast between a combative Trump and a serious policy discussion by Biden.
But separating the candidates proved costly in terms of audience, with a combined fiture far below traditional debates. The Sept. 29 faceoff between Trump and Biden, carried on many networks, drew 73 million viewers.
For the latest news and updates, follow us on Google News. Also, if you like our efforts, consider sharing this story with your friends, this will encourage us to bring more exciting updates for you.