TV Ratings: DNC Dips in Night 3 Despite Presidential Visit

The third night of the Democratic National Convention, which also served as the last night in 2012, pulled out the big guns with a long address from President Barack Obama and a surprise appearance by candidate Hillary Clinton. 
Ratings for the first two nights of the DNC easily outpaced the comparable showings from Republicans the week before — a fact many are attributing to the lineup of speakers — but updated returns are trailing those from Monday and Tuesday. An estimated 27 million viewers tuned into primetime coverage, between 10 and 11:45 p.m., on Wednesday night.

That number still heads above the comparable showing from the Republicans' Night 3 showing the week before, besting it by more than 5 million viewers before additional returns come in from PBS. 

Looking at individual networks, CNN again dominated other outlets with an average 6.2 million viewers. MSNBC, getting an atypically robust showing this week, followed with 4.9 million viewers. Network sibling NBC News pulled 4.2 million viewers, followed by ABC News (3.6 million), CBS News (2.9 million) and Fox News Channel (2.4 million viewers). An additional 2.9 million viewers tuned into the Obama portion of the DNC on PBS.

Obama was not the only marquee speaker on Wednesday night. Vice President Joe Biden and Clinton running mate Tim Kaine also spoke in primetime. To outperform the first two nights, final tallies will have to hit at least 29 million viewers. (That seems unlikely at this point.) 
Night 3 of the 2012 DNC set a high bar of 35.7 million viewers — though that comparison also isn't at all fair. The 2012 DNC, which nominated incumbent Obama, ran an abbreviated three days. A better comparison is 2008 in which primetime coverage of the DNC averaged 27 million viewers on the third night. 
Elsewhere, America's Got Talent took a dip on NBC but led the night in the key demo with a 1.7 rating among adults 18-49. It edged past CBS' Big Brother (1.7 adults) during the 8 o'clock hour and easily topped Fox's MasterChef (1.0 adults). 
At 9 o'clock, The Night Shift (1.1 adults) held reasonably steady in its adjusted time slot. Dramas Wayward Pines (0.7 adults) and American Gothic (0.6 adults) were even.