TV Ratings: DNC Opener With Michelle Obama Tops RNC Launch, CNN Surges

The Democrats have a high ratings bar to hit during the 2016 DNC. The party's last convention, a tight three days, outpaced the RNC by a significant margin. 

So far, the DNC is at least off to a good start. Across three cable networks, three broadcasters and PBS, an estimated total 28.4 million viewers tuned in. That's up more than 5 million viewers compared to the first night of last week's Republican National Convention, when the GOP lured 23 million. 

On the broadcast networks, NBC News led the pack with 4.3 million viewers. ABC followed with 4.1 million, with CBS pulling another 3.2 million.  

However, it was CNN that notched the biggest victory. The channel pulled in 6.2 million viewers to finish first among all networks, followed by MSNBC with 4.6 million viewers -- still a win over the Big Four -- and followed by Fox News with 3.3 million. PBS fetched 2.7 million viewers between 10 and 11 p.m. ET.

CNN also brought the best showing among adults 25-54. The network brought 2.2 million in the key news demographic. NBC News skewed the youngest, averaging a 1.1 rating among adults 18-49.

All told, the first night of the 2012 DNC brought in 26.2 million viewers in the shared primetime hour of 10 p.m. That was the second-highest-rated night of the convention, which peaked two days later with President Obama re-accepting the nomination for president to a TV crowd of 35.7 million viewers. This year will play out a little differently, with the convention lasting four days. 

This time last week, early RNC numbers had 10.1 million tuning into the broadcast coverage of the opening night. That went on to gross 23 million viewers for the night across broadcast and cable — with a significant portion of the total audience coming from Fox News Channel and CNN. Details on cable viewership will arrive later.

Night one of the DNC suffered no shortage of star power. First Lady Michelle Obama, one-time candidate Bernie Sanders and party golden boy Cory Booker were among those who turned out to shill for Hillary Clinton. It follows a RNC that many called out for an uninspired roster of speakers. 

ABC also received a win in non-convention primetime coverage thanks to The Bachelorette, which led the night with a 1.9 rating among adults 18-49. American Ninja Warrior notched a 1.6 rating for NBC, down two-tenths from last week. So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation (0.7 adults) was flat for Fox.