TV Ratings: Democratic Convention Numbers Down for Night 1

Michelle Obama DNCC

Former first lady Michelle Obama addresses the virtual convention.

Ratings for the Democratic National Convention were down considerably from four years ago on the broadcast networks and three main cable news channels — not a surprising result given that much of the convention isn't taking place live and the general decline of linear TV viewing in the past four years.

The common hour-plus of coverage starting at 10 p.m. ET averaged 18.68 million viewers on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox News and MSNBC. That's down about 28 percent compared to the opening night of the 2016 Democratic convention.

The broadcast networks suffered the biggest drops:  ABC, CBS and NBC combined for about 6.7 million viewers at 10 p.m., off by 42 percent from the 11.6 million who tuned in four years ago. ABC led the trio with 2.44 million viewers, followed by NBC (2.28 million) and CBS (1.99 million).

Cable news made up some of the difference, with MSNBC leading the 10 p.m. ET hour with 5.1 million viewers. CNN averaged 4.78 million and Fox News 2.1 million. The combined 11.98 million viewers was off by 16 percent from 2016.

CNN led the field at 10 p.m. in the key news demographic of adults 25-54, drawing 1.52 million people in that age range. MSNBC (1.02 million) was the only other of the six to get more than 1 million viewers in the demo.

The big four broadcast nets otherwise aired repeats in primetime Monday. The CW got steady numbers from Whose Line Is It Anyway? and Penn & Teller: Fool Us.

Fox, NBC and Univision tied for the lead among adults 18-49 for the night, all averaging a 0.4 rating. ABC, CBS and Telemundo also tied at 0.3. The CW averaged 0.2.

Bookmark for more ratings news and numbers.

Aug. 18, 11:25 a.m. Updated with cable ratings for the Democratic convention.