Instead of a presidential debate – that was canceled over a last-minute rule change – Trump and Biden held town halls on different TV networks Thursday evening. Trump’s hour-long NBC event was scheduled opposite Biden’s 90-minute ABC appearance – and to hear the media on Friday, the Democrat won easily.
ABC (Biden): 12.23 million
NBC (Trump): 10.39 million https://t.co/h1A92S2lGJ
— Tim Hogan (@timjhogan) October 16, 2020
Biden drew 12.7 million total viewers to Trump’s 10.4 million, Variety reported, citing “early numbers.” In the key 18-49 demographic, Biden led Trump 2.6 to 1.7, according to the same source.
The Daily Beast, which had anticipated just such an outcome, still felt compelled to note that Trump’s numbers will rise when MSNBC and CNBC numbers are added in, since his town hall was simulcast on those cable networks as well. However, it conceded that “on the broadcast networks alone, Biden appears to be the clear winner.”
Final ratings showed Biden’s town hall averaging 13.9 million viewers to Trump’s just over 13 million across all networks, CNN reported, describing it as “a result virtually no one in the TV business expected.”
Democrats were also doing a victory lap when it came to YouTube numbers, citing a Newsweek piece to point out the ABC live-stream had 507,445 viewers at the end, compared to only 153,660 for the NBC one.
"At the end of Trump's town hall, the NBC News YouTube channel showed 153,660.
ABC News's YouTube channel showed 507,445 viewers at the end of Biden's town hall."
Another Trump fail. Right in NBC's face.
They must be so proud.https://t.co/t2PsU0mxDx
— Steve Marmel (@Marmel) October 16, 2020
The very same publication, however, also reported that TikTok users were trying to artificially inflate the Biden numbers by opening the steam on multiple devices and browser tabs. By the time that article was published – 10 am Eastern on Friday – the Biden video had 2.8 million views, while the three NBC-affiliated streams of Trump’s event actually added up to 4.5 million views.
And Trump still beat Biden
Trump 4.5M Streamed network views
Biden 2.8M Streamed network views https://t.co/ojjxNeaRQe
— Tim Pool (@Timcast) October 16, 2020
Earlier this week, more than 100 liberal actors, producers, and directors – apparently believing Trump would triumph over Biden in the ratings – tried to pressure NBC into rescheduling the president’s event.
Arguing that scheduling him directly opposite Biden was “enabling the President’s bad behavior” and “doing a disservice to the American public,” the celebrities accused NBC of “indifference to the norms and rules of our democracy” and demanded that the Trump event be moved to before or after Biden’s, so Americans could watch both candidates.
Among the signatories were ‘Law & Order: SVU’ stars Mariska Hargitay and Chris Meloni; directors J.J. Abrams and Ava DuVernay; actors Jon Hamm, Josh Gad, Julianne Moore, and Kumail Nanjiani; ‘The West Wing’ creator Aaron Sorkin and cast members Allison Janney, Richard Schiff, and Joshua Malina; and outspoken Resistance activists such as Patton Oswalt, Sarah Silverman, Debra Messing, and Alec Baldwin.
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