The first presidential debate between President Donald Trump and Joe Biden likely attracted a much smaller audience than the record set four years ago, despite the leader citing ‘very high’ ratings.
An estimated 28.82 million people tuned in Tuesday night on broadcast networks ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox, below the 45.3 million viewers million who watched the debate with Hillary Clinton on those channels in 2016.
However while speaking to reporters ahead of a campaign trip to Minnesota on Wednesday, Trump said the figures were huge.
The first presidential debate between President Donald Trump and Joe Biden likely attracted a much smaller audience that the record set four years ago. But Trump said Wednesday that figures were ‘very high’
In 2016, 45.3 million viewers watched the debate with Hillary Clinton on ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox but those channels only drew in 28.82 million for this year’s initial ratings
Despite the 36 percent drop on the four networks, Trump said on the lawn of the White House that the programming got ‘tremendous views.’
‘I think the debate last night was great. We’ve gotten tremendous reviews,’ Trump said. ‘I see the ratings were very high.’
Papers and news outlets across the globe deemed the debate a ‘shame’, a ‘chaotic spectacle of political theater’, and Trump’s potential re-election ‘the first line of America’s obituary’.
It’s unclear which viewing figures Trump is referring to.
For Spanish-language TV, Telemundo and Univision garnered early viewing figures of about 2.5 million, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The English early viewing figures only took into account the four networks and are expected to bump up once time differences are taken into account.
When live viewing in the different time zones was factored in for 2016, the figures increased by 4 million to 49.33 million.
Data from additional cable networks will be released later on Wednesday.
With a change in viewing habits over the years, the number of people watching online hasn’t been taken into account.
This year Nielsen will also consider out-of-home viewing for the first time, which should help boost the final numbers.
However it’s still unlikely to beat the all-time high of Trump-Clinton in 2016 which attracted 84.4 million viewers across 13 networks.
ABC: 10.28 million
NBC: 7.5 million
CBS: 5.05 million
FOX: 4.43 million
ABC: 11.6 million
NBC: 15.6 million
CBS: 10.2 million
FOX: 5 million
Trump said on the lawn of the White House that the programming got ‘tremendous views’
It’s predicted that Tuesday’s showdown between Trump and former Vice President Biden will get somewhere between the 67.2 million viewers in 2012 and 52.4 million in 2008 featuring President Obama.
Tuesday’s program got a 7.1 rating from the combined networks, Deadline reports.
For the first time, ABC proved more popular than NBC. It claimed 10.3 million viewers and a 2.6 rating compared to the Comcast-owned network’s 7.5 million viewers and 2.1 rating.
The debate was considered irritating viewing on Tuesday as Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Biden sparred while moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News attempted to gain control at the Samson Pavilion in Cleveland, Ohio.
Viewers struggled to hear what the challengers were saying amid frequent interruptions.
France Le Monde newspaper labeled Trump a bully, The Times UK said, ‘the clearest loser from the first presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden was America, and Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald commented that ‘many wondered if the chaos and tenor of the event said something more fundamental about the state of American democracy.’
It doesn’t look good for Trump and Biden’s next debate on October 15.
Before that Vice President Mike Pence and Kamala Harris are set to go head-to-head on October 7.
Trump (L) and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden (R) spar while moderator Chris Wallace (C) attempts to gain control during the first 2020 presidential election debate at Samson Pavilion in Cleveland, Ohio
Viewers struggled to hear what the challengers were saying amid frequent interruptions