CNN basks in party lights Wednesday

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CNN managed to tighten the Democratic National Convention coverage ratings battle Wednesday night, roughly matching top-rated broadcaster NBC among total viewers.

With Bill Clinton and vp candidate Joe Biden in the spotlight on the third night of the convention, the cable news channel was up 86% from the same night four years ago to tally 5.38 million viewers in the 10-11 p.m. hour.

With NBC drawing 5.36 million, CNN said it beat all of cable and broadcast in national convention coverage for the first time in network history. NBC (and Fox News) quickly protested the claim, noting that NBC and CBS' coverage went to 11:03 p.m. rather than stop on the hour. If you use full program ratings, NBC squeezes out CNN, 5.5 to 5.4. Among adults 18-49, CNN firmly topped all of broadcast by a tenth of a point at 10 p.m. (a 1.6 rating to NBC's 1.5).

No matter how you thin-slice the math, the cable net managed to roughly match the broadcaster despite NBC dominating the first two nights of coverage.

About 24 million viewers turned in across broadcast and cable networks. That's down 7% from Tuesday, when Hillary Clinton took the stage, and up 8% from the convention's opening night. Compared with the same night four years ago, viewership was up 34%, continuing a trend seen across all three days of coverage so far.
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