Former Vice President Joe Biden drew more than 2 million more viewers than President Donald Trump during the candidates’ dueling town halls Thursday night, Nielsen reported.
The Democratic presidential nominee’s appearance on ABC drew 12.7 million viewers compared with the president’s 10.4 million. The final ratings will be available later Friday.
While the ratings are high, they are bleak in comparison to the September presidential debate between Trump and Biden, which attracted more than 73 million viewers.
NBC News was on the receiving end of internal and external backlash for scheduling the Trump event at the same time as Biden’s town hall on ABC. Prominent talent also criticized the network for even hosting the president.
Network employees were reportedly upset that NBC scheduled the Trump event, while more than 100 celebrities penned an open letter urging the town hall to be canceled. Both Biden’s and Trump’s town halls were scheduled after the second presidential debate was canceled by the Commission on Presidential Debates. The debate was canceled after Trump refused a virtual debate following his COVID-19 diagnosis.
The next and final presidential debate will take place on Oct. 22. NBC’s Kristen Welker will moderate.
Seventeen million people viewed the RNC’s first night on television. In comparison, 19.7 million watched the first night of the Democratic National Convention. In 2016, the first night of the RNC in Cleveland brought in 23 million viewers. That same year, the DNC in Philadelphia drew 26 million viewers on its first night.
The drop in ratings could be because Americans have turned away from live television in recent years, with streaming platforms gaining in popularity. Streaming numbers are not included in Nielsen’s data.