- Early numbers show former Vice President Joe Biden is winning the TV ratings battle against President Donald Trump after a night of dueling town halls.
- The 2020 Democratic candidate attracted 2.3 million more viewers to his ABC News town hall than the president’s NBC News town hall, according to Variety.
- A fuller picture of the ratings is still to come as the initial data released from both networks left out viewership numbers from broadcast affiliates and consideration of time-zones.
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Former Vice President Joe Biden has so far won the TV ratings battle against President Donald Trump after an evening of dueling town halls, according to initial data reported by Variety.
The 2020 Democratic candidate drew 12.7 million viewers to his town hall on ABC News, and 10.4 million people tuned into Trump’s NBC News town hall broadcast at the same time.
A fuller picture of the night’s winner is still to come, as the networks release more viewership numbers from affiliates, including MSNBC and CNBC, and time-zone differences are taken into account.
The competing town halls replaced a second presidential debate, which was canceled after Trump refused to participate virtually, a change made by the Commission on Presidential Debates due to health concerns about his recent COVID-19 diagnosis. The White House physician announced earlier this week that the president is no longer infectious and has tested negative.
Following the cancelation, Biden filled the lost time by scheduling a town hall at 8 p.m. EST for Thursday. Trump later followed suit and announced a town hall on NBC in the same time slot.
NBC faced substantial criticism for agreeing to host Trump’s town hall at the same time as Biden’s.
“We are simply asking that NBC air the President’s town hall either before or after Vice President Biden’s so that American voters can have the opportunity to watch both,” a letter from over 100 NBC employees read. The event went ahead as planned.
The two are set to face-off on the same stage again at the final presidential debate on October 22.