TV Ratings: 'Thursday Night Football' Tops Politics

Cincinnati Bengals v Cleveland Browns
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For a mid-September Thursday, broadcast and cable TV had quite a bit of high-profile programming, including cable news coverage of both major presidential candidates and conference final games in the NBA and NHL.

The NFL Network's first Thursday Night Football telecast, however, led the entire field. The game delivered an audience almost identical to that of the first TNF game a year ago. The Cleveland Browns' 35-30 win over the Cincinnati Bengals averaged 6.68 million viewers and a 2.3 rating among adults 18-49, versus 6.64 million and 2.4 during the same week in 2019.

Fox News drew the night's second-largest audience, with Tucker Carlson Tonight and Hannity each averaging 4.72 million viewers and The Ingraham Angle bringing in 3.94 million. The latter two shows featured coverage of a campaign rally for President Trump.

CNN, meanwhile, had a much larger audience than usual for its forum with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, bringing in 3.45 million viewers for the event. Anderson Cooper 360 averaged 1.73 million viewers in the 8 o'clock hour over the previous three days.

Game 2 of the NBA's Eastern Conference Finals brought in 3.48 million viewers on ESPN, and the Tampa Bay Lightning's clinching of a Stanley Cup Final berth on NBC Sports Network drew 1.18 million.

CBS' Big Brother led the broadcast networks across the board, putting up steady numbers: 1.0 in adults 18-49 and 4.09 million viewers.

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