Biden leads Trump in early ratings numbers from dueling towns halls

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenAzar in departure letter says Capitol riot threatens to 'tarnish' administration's accomplishments House Democrats introduce measures to oppose Trump's bomb sale to Saudis On The Money: Retail sales drop in latest sign of weakening economy | Fast-food workers strike for minimum wage | US officials raise concerns over Mexico's handling of energy permits MORE drew about 2 million more viewers than President TrumpDonald TrumpCIA chief threatened to resign over push to install Trump loyalist as deputy: report Azar in departure letter says Capitol riot threatens to 'tarnish' administration's accomplishments Justice Dept. argues Trump should get immunity from rape accuser's lawsuit MORE during the candidates' dueling town halls Thursday night, according to early numbers from Nielsen Media Research.

The Democratic presidential nominee's appearance on ABC drew 12.7 million viewers compared with the president's 10.4 million. Final numbers will be available later Friday, which will include numbers from NBC simulcasts on CNBC, MSNBC and Telemundo.

While the ratings are relatively high, they still pale in comparison to the first debate between Trump and Biden, which attracted more than 73 million viewers in September.


NBC News was on the receiving end of internal and external backlash for scheduling the Trump event at the same time as Biden's town hall on ABC, which was scheduled more than a week before Trump's NBC event was announced.

Network employees were reportedly upset that NBC scheduled the Trump event, while more than 100 celebrities penned an open letter urging the town hall to be canceled. Both Biden's and Trump's town halls were scheduled after the second presidential debate scheduled for the evening was canceled by the Commission on Presidential Debates after Trump refused a virtual debate following his coronavirus diagnosis.

The next and final presidential debate will take place on Oct. 22. NBC's Kristen Welker will moderate.

During the Democratic and Republican National conventions, Biden also outdrew Trump on the ratings front.

The former vice president drew 24.6 million viewers, while Trump drew 23.8 million.