U.S. vice presidential debate audience jumps from 2016

By Lisa Richwine LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - U.S. Vice President Mike Pence's debate with Democratic challenger Kamala Harris attracted a bigger television audience than a similar pre-election debate in 2016, according to early Nielsen ratings data released on Thursday

Reuters October 09, 2020 01:10:56 IST
U.S. vice presidential debate audience jumps from 2016

US vice presidential debate audience jumps from 2016

By Lisa Richwine

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - U.S. Vice President Mike Pence's debate with Democratic challenger Kamala Harris attracted a bigger television audience than a similar pre-election debate in 2016, according to early Nielsen ratings data released on Thursday.

About 50.5 million people watched the Wednesday night face-off across seven broadcast and cable networks, the data showed. The number is expected to rise later on Thursday when additional networks are added to the tally.

The audience figures so far mark a 17% increase from the 37 million who tuned in when Pence debated Democrat Tim Kaine in 2016.

Vice presidential debates typically draw smaller audiences than presidential clashes. President Donald Trump's Sept. 29 debate with Democratic challenger Joe Biden pulled in 73 million viewers, making it the second-biggest event on U.S. television this year, after the Super Bowl.

The TV viewing record for a vice presidential debate was set in 2008, when Biden debated Republican Sarah Palin. That telecast drew 69.9 million viewers.

For the Pence-Harris matchup, Fox News Channel led all networks, with 11.3 million viewers.

The Nielsen numbers included people watching at home and at such venues as bars and restaurants. It also included some digital viewership through televisions connected to the internet.

The figures do not capture the full extent of online viewing, which has grown in popularity as traditional TV audiences decline. The debate was streamed live on Twitter, YouTube, network websites and other digital platforms.

(Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Howard Goller and Rosalba O'Brien)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

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