WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Former vice president Joe Biden was the ratings winner on Thursday night, outdrawing President Donald Trump in dueling television events by roughly one million viewers, according to the Washington Post.
Biden appeared on ABC while Trump was hosted by NBC for primetime town hall events.
Biden’s town hall averaged about 13.9 million viewers while Trump pulled about 13 million for his event, according to early data from Nielsen. The Post says Biden’s ratings win is particularly interesting given the fact Trump’s town hall was simulcast on MSNBC and CNBC.
It’s worth noting the first debate between the pair drew a massive audience of more than 73 million viewers across 16 networks.
Nevertheless, ABC is touting its Biden event as the network’s most-watched prime-time telecast since the Oscars in February.
After Thursday night, both candidates have participated in town hall events with both ABC and NBC. According to the Post, Trump’s Sept. 15 town hall on ABC was seen by 3.8 million people. Biden’s NBC town hall last week was viewed by about 6.5 million people.
Coming just two and a half weeks before Election Day, Thursday’s events offered crystalizing contrasts and a national, if divided, audience.
Trump was defensive about his administration’s handling of the coronavirus, which has claimed more than 215,000 American lives, and evasive when pressed about whether he took a required COVID-19 test before his first debate with Biden. Angry and combative, Trump refused to denounce the QAnon conspiracy group — and only testily did so regarding white supremacists.
Biden denounced the White House’s handling of the virus, declaring that it was at fault for closing a pandemic response office established by the Obama administration in which he served. Though vague at times, he suggested he will offer clarity on his position on expanding the Supreme Court if Trump’s nominee to the bench is seated before Election Day.
Trump and Biden will meet Oct. 22 in Nashville for their second and final televised debate.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.