For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.When 2020 Democratic nominee Joe Biden and President Donald Trump held dueling town halls on different networks at the same time, it seemed safe to assume that more people would tune in for reality show presidential pyrotechnics than the even-keeled former vice president discussing policy. But the Nielsen ratings show that most Americans opted to keep their blood pressure low Thursday night.
Biden’s town hall on ABC averaged about 13.9 million viewers, while Trump’s town hall, which aired on three different channels—NBC News, CNBC, and MSNBC—averaged 13.1 million viewers, according to early Nielsen ratings.
The Nielsen ratings count only viewers who watched through their TV sets, not the many thousands who streamed the programs online. The final ratings will be released later this afternoon.