TV Ratings: Democratic Convention Ends on Up Note

Joe Biden day 4 DNC - H 2020
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Joe Biden on day 4 of the Democratic National Convention 2020.

Joe Biden's acceptance speech on the final night of the event outdraws Wednesday's coverage by a few hundred thousand viewers.

The final night of the Democratic National Convention drew the event's biggest TV audience for nominee Joe Biden's acceptance speech.

The 10 o'clock hour drew a combined 21.78 million viewers across ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox News and MSNBC. That's up by about 370,000 viewers from Wednesday's showcase hour and the largest audience for the four days of the convention.

Across all four nights, the convention averaged 20.12 million viewers on the six networks. That's down by 21 percent vs. the 2016 convention's average of 25.51 million viewers on the same six outlets. Thursday's coverage slipped by about 22 percent compared to the closing night four years ago.

Additional coverage on PBS, Fox Business, CNNe and Newsy — the four other networks Nielsen has measured for convention coverage — will likely add about 5 percent to the total. Over the first three nights of the event, they lifted the average from 19.57 million viewers to 20.58 million.

MSNBC finished first in total viewers at 10 p.m. for the fourth consecutive night, averaging 6.15 million. CNN was not far behind with 5.56 million viewers. ABC (2.97 million) and Fox News (2.96 million) each had their best nights of the convention with their coverage of Biden's acceptance speech. NBC (2.15 million) and CBS (1.99 million) rounded out the big six.

CNN again led the key news demographic of adults 25-54 with 1.69 million viewers in that age range at 10 p.m., followed by MSNBC with 1.25 million. The other four outlets finished in the same order as in the total viewer tally.

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