In Depth

Democratic Convention Ratings Fall From 2004

The first night of the Democratic National Convention, featuring an address by Michelle Obama, drew fewer broadcast television viewers than the event four years ago, when former President Bill Clinton kicked things off.


ABC, CBS and NBC brought in 12.1 million viewers in the 10 p.m. hour, down one million from 2004, according to preliminary, fast-national data from Nielsen Media Research. NBC scored the largest audience.

Later in the day, when final broadcast and cable ratings came in, it became clear that the cable news networks' blanket coverage pushed audiences much higher.

Only ABC News’s convention special gained over its entertainment lead-in, picking up 1.6 million viewers following “Samantha Who?” to average 3.78 million viewers for the hour anchored by Charles Gibson, George Stephanopoulos and Diane Sawyer.

ABC finished second in the head-to-head competition to NBC News’s hour anchored by Brian Williams, which averaged 4.85 million viewers, down 2.6 million from the lead-in supplied by “America’s Toughest Jobs.”

In third place was the CBS News Hour anchored by Katie Couric, Bob Schieffer and Jeff Greenfield, which averaged 3.52 million viewers, down 3 million viewers from “The New Adventures of Old Christine.”

In other programming, NBC rolled out the season premiere of “Deal or No Deal” (2.8/8), finishing behind a repeat of CBS's "Two and a Half Men," to place second in adults 18-49. NBC's launch of “America’s Toughest Jobs” scored a 2.6/7, winning the hour, but the program fell off 31% from its “Deal” lead-in in total viewers to 7.5 million.

NBC finished the night in first with a 2.3/6.

CBS took second with its repeats, and ended with a 1.8/5. Fox placed third with a 1.5/4, and ABC took fourth with a 0.8/2.

The CW was a close fifth with a 0.7/2.

(Editor: Baumann)