Oct 17, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Biden changes channel on "Trump Show"

Joe Biden checks out a classic car at the end of a voter mobilization event at the Michigan State Fairgrounds in Novi, Mich., yesterday.
Joe Biden checks out a classic car at the end of a voter mobilization event at the Michigan State Fairgrounds in Novi, Mich., yesterday. Photo: Tom Brenner/Reuters

Joe Biden not only crushed President Trump in ratings for their head-to-head town halls, Biden was a bigger draw for an earlier pairing of network town halls.

By the numbers: Biden had a bigger combined audience for town halls on ABC + NBC than Trump did for his ABC and NBC town halls. Biden drew 20.8 million for the two town halls combined, while Trump had 17.3 million.

Here's the breakdown, from Nielsen, via AP (omits streaming):

  • Biden's ABC town hall with George Stephanopoulos on Thursday reached 14.1 million people between 8 and 9 p.m. (when the 90-minute event was head to head with NBC).
  • Trump's NBC town hall with Savannah Guthrie on Thursday had 13.5 million viewers (NBC: 10.9 million, MSNBC: 1.8 million, CNBC: 720,000).
  • Biden's NBC town hall with Lester Holt on Oct. 5: 6.7 million (includes NBC, MSNBC, CNBC; NBC only was 3.85 million).
  • Trump's ABC town hall with Stephanopoulos on Sept. 15: 3.8 million people.

Axios' Sara Fischer, who tracks this closely, notes: Biden's town hall with CNN on Sept. 17, two days after Trump's ABC town hall, drew fewer viewers than Trump — 3.3 million, to Trump's 3.8 million on the broadcast network.

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