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Fewer people watched opening night of Democratic convention compared to 2016

Fewer people watched opening night of Democratic convention compared to 2016
© Pool

Television viewership for Monday's opening night of the virtual Democratic National Convention was down nearly 30 percent compared to four years ago.

Preliminary figures from Nielsen Media Research found that 18.6 million Americans tuned in, though the Biden campaign said digital views were up compared to 2016, when fewer than 26 million watched.

MSNBC drew the biggest TV audience of the cable and broadcast networks, with 5.096 million viewers tuning in from 10 p.m. to 11:15 pm ET. CNN was second with 4.777 million viewers, followed by ABC with 2.442 million, NBC with 2.282 million, Fox News with 2.099 million and CBS with 1.985 million.

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The convention's programming on Monday began at 9 p.m. ET, with the same start time slated for the three remaining nights.

TJ Ducklo, national press secretary for the Biden campaign, tweeted that digital views were up from 2016 and that the campaign is "producing a digital convention, and people are watching."

Monday's events were hosted by "Desperate Housewives" star Eva Longoria, with former first lady Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaClinton, Bush, Obama reflect on peaceful transition of power on Biden's Inauguration Day Alpha Kappa Alpha declares Jan. 20 'Kamala D. Harris Day' to celebrate fellow member's 'historic moment' The Hill's 12:30 Report: Sights and sounds from Inauguration Day MORE giving the final speech of the evening.

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"Donald Trump is the wrong president for our country. He has had more than enough time to prove that he can do the job, but he is clearly in over his head," Obama said in her pretaped remarks, which were recorded before presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenKaty Perry and her 'Firework' close out inauguration TV special Arizona Republican's brothers say he is 'at least partially to blame' for Capitol violence Tom Hanks: After years of 'troubling rancor,' Inauguration Day 'is about witnessing the permanence of our American ideal' MORE named Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisKaty Perry and her 'Firework' close out inauguration TV special Biden's first foreign leader call to be with Canada's Trudeau on Friday Harris now 'the most influential woman' in American politics MORE (D-Calif.) as his running mate on Aug. 10.

President TrumpDonald TrumpClinton, Bush, Obama reflect on peaceful transition of power on Biden's Inauguration Day Arizona Republican's brothers say he is 'at least partially to blame' for Capitol violence Biden reverses Trump's freeze on .4 billion in funds MORE responded on social media, calling Obama's speech "divisive."

"She was over her head, and frankly she should’ve made the speech live, which she didn't do," Trump said during a White House event commemorating the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage.

The virtual format was panned by some on both the left and the right, with former Democratic presidential candidate Marianne WilliamsonMarianne WilliamsonMarianne Williamson discusses America's "soulless ethos" Marianne Williamson discusses speaking at People's Party Convention Fewer people watched opening night of Democratic convention compared to 2016 MORE comparing the event to "binge watching a Marriott commercial."

Former President Clinton, Jill Biden and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezBudowsky: Democracy won, Trump lost, President Biden inaugurated Biden faces tall order in uniting polarized nation Facebook has no current plan to end the Trump suspension MORE (D-N.Y.) are slated to speak on Tuesday night.