Politics 2020: Ratings of Vice Presidential Debate Surges Over 2016

TV Ratings: Vice Presidential Debate Surges Over 2016

Mike Pence Kamala Harris

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Wednesday’s vice presidential debate drew a much larger TV audience than its counterpart in 2016.The face-off between Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic nominee Sen. Kamala Harris drew 52.84 million viewers across the Big Four broadcast networks and the three main cable news channels, a 50 percent jump over the total for those same seven outlets in 2016.

Spanish-language broadcasters Telemundo and Univision added 2.13 million to the tally, bringing it to just under 55 million viewers. Totals for PBS and other outlets, available later, will push the number even higher.

Wednesday’s telecast is the second-most-watched vice presidential debate of the past 24 years, trailing only the 2008 debate between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin that drew nearly 70 million people.

As it did with last week’s first presidential debate, Fox News had the largest chunk of the audience, averaging 11.9 million viewers. ABC led the broadcast networks with 9.83 million viewers. CNN drew 7.71 million people, followed by MSNBC (6.92 million), NBC (6.8 million), CBS (5.38 million) and the Fox broadcast network (4.3 million).