Wednesday’s vice presidential debate drew a much larger TV audience than its counterpart in 2016.
The face-off between Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic nominee Sen. Kamala Harris drew 57.92 million viewers across 18 outlets, a 63 percent spike over four years ago. The great majority of those viewers — 52.84 million — watched on the Big Four broadcast networks and the three main cable news channels, 50 more than for those same seven outlets in 2016.
PBS, Telemundo, Univision, BET, BET HER, CNNe (on tape delay), Fox Business Network, Newsmax, Newsy, Vice and WGN America also aired the debate.
Wednesday’s telecast is the second-most-watched vice presidential debate of the past 24 years, trailing only the 2008 debate between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin that drew nearly 70 million people.
As it did with last week’s first presidential debate, Fox News had the largest chunk of the audience, averaging 11.9 million viewers. ABC led the broadcast networks with 9.83 million viewers. CNN drew 7.71 million people, followed by MSNBC (6.92 million), NBC (6.8 million), CBS (5.38 million) and the Fox broadcast network (4.3 million).
Prior to the debate, The Masked Singer came in on the low side for Fox with a 1.5 rating among adults 18-49 and 6.01 million viewers. CBS’ Big Brother (1.0, 4.1 million) and NBC’s Weakest Link (0.8, 4.08 million) were consistent with recent outings. The CW’s imported drama Devils, starring Patrick Dempsey, opened to 602,000 viewers.
Bookmark THR.com/Ratings for more ratings news and numbers.
Oct. 8, 11:55 a.m. Updated with cable news totals for the debate.
Oct. 8, 2:40 p.m. Updated with final debate numbers.