Biden wins town hall ratings battle with Trump, drawing nearly 1 million more viewers than the president

joe biden president trump
Democratic Presidential candidate and former US Vice President Joe Biden (L) and US President Donald Trump speaking during the first presidential debate on September 29, 2020.
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden won the TV ratings battle against President Donald Trump after a night of dueling town halls. 
  • The 2020 Democratic candidate attracted nearly one million more viewers to his ABC News town hall than the president's NBC News town hall, according to CNN.
  • Data shows that Biden drew 13.9 million viewers on ABC alone, versus Trump's total of 13 million from NBC, CNBC and MSNBC. 
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Former Vice President Joe Biden has won the TV ratings battle against President Donald Trump after an evening of dueling town halls, according to data reported by CNN.

The 2020 Democratic candidate drew 13.9 million viewers to his town hall on ABC, beating Trump's 13 million total for his NBC News town hall broadcast at the same time. 

The former vice president's event was only played on ABC, whereas the president's event aired on three different channels — NBC, CNBC and MSNBC. 

The ratings are based on TV viewership. Online streaming figures are not included. 

The competing town halls replaced a second presidential debate, which was canceled after Trump refused to participate virtually, a change made by the Commission on Presidential Debates due to health concerns about his recent COVID-19 diagnosis. The White House physician announced earlier this week that the president is no longer infectious and has tested negative.

Following the cancelation, Biden filled the lost time by scheduling a town hall at 8 p.m. EST for Thursday. Trump later followed suit and announced a town hall on NBC in the same time slot.

NBC faced substantial criticism for agreeing to host Trump's town hall at the same time as Biden's.

"We are simply asking that NBC air the President's town hall either before or after Vice President Biden's so that American voters can have the opportunity to watch both," a letter from over 100 NBC employees read. The event went ahead as planned. 

The two are set to face-off on the same stage again at the final presidential debate on October 22.

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