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Biden Town Hall Leads ABC to Ratings Win This week

Despite three networks showing Trump, it was Joe Biden’s ABC town hall that drew more viewers

Douglas Pucci

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The night of Thursday, Oct. 15 was supposed to feature a presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden in Miami, Fla. But after Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis on Sep. 30, the Commission on Presidential Debates offered the candidates to hold the debate virtually online, to which Trump declined. As a result, Biden instead scheduled a two-hour town hall from Philadelphia for the ABC network. Trump countered with his own one-hour town hall from Miami, Fla. hosted by “Today” anchor Savannah Guthrie on the networks of NBC, MSNBC and CNBC.

Despite three networks showing Trump, it was Joe Biden’s ABC town hall that drew more viewers — 14.13 million viewers vs. the combined 13.46 million (NBC 10.91 million, MSNBC 1.83 million, CNBC 0.72 million). Biden also won in the key demo battle of adults 25-54: 4.64 million vs. 3.74 million.

Here were the half-hour breakdowns of both town halls where Biden even topped Trump head-to-head in the 8-9 p.m. ET hour:

8:00-8:30 p.m. ET

ABC — The Vice President and the People: A Special Edition of 20/20 (Joe Biden Town Hall)

Viewers: 13.51 million, Adults 25-54: 4.13 million

NBC/MSNBC/CNBC — Trump Town Hall

Viewers: 12.79 million, Adults 25-54: 3.39 million

8:30-9:00 p.m. ET

ABC — The Vice President and the People: A Special Edition of 20/20 (Joe Biden Town Hall)

Viewers: 15.15 million, Adults 25-54: 4.97 million

NBC/MSNBC/CNBC — Trump Town Hall

Viewers: 14.13 million, Adults 25-54: 4.09 million

9:00-9:30 p.m. ET

ABC — The Vice President and the People: A Special Edition of 20/20 (Joe Biden Town Hall)

Viewers: 16.70 million, Adults 25-54: 5.67 million

9:30-10:00 p.m. ET

ABC — The Vice President and the People: A Special Edition of 20/20 (Joe Biden Town Hall)

Viewers: 11.18 million, Adults 25-54: 3.78 million

Biden’s town hall peaked in its third half-hour (9-9:30 p.m. ET), presumably due to some of those who had switched over to ABC after Trump’s town hall had concluded.

For the week ending Oct. 11, 2020 in total day data (from 6 a.m. to 5:59 a.m. each day), Fox News Channel and CNN shared top honors among the cable news networks: FNC in viewers (2.07 million); CNN in adults 25-54 (390,000: edging out FNC’s 382,000). MSNBC (1.54 million) surpassed CNN (1.47 million) in total viewers but lagged behind both cable news stations in the key demo (249,000 adults 25-54).

Top 10 most-watched cable news programs in total viewers:

1. VP Debate (FOXNC, Wed. 10/7/2020 9:03 PM, 91 min.) 11.898 million viewers

2. VP Debate Analysis (FOXNC, Wed. 10/7/2020 10:34 PM, 26 min.) 9.162 million viewers

3. VP Debate Coverage (FOXNC, Wed. 10/7/2020 8:50 PM, 13 min.) 8.399 million viewers

4. Vice Presidential Debate (CNN, Wed. 10/7/2020 9:04 PM, 89 min.) 7.705 million viewers

5. Debate (MSNBC, Wed. 10/7/2020 9:03 PM, 92 min.) 6.918 million viewers

6. MSNBC Debate Analysis (MSNBC, Wed. 10/7/2020 10:35 PM, 25 min.) 6.635 million viewers

7. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Wed. 10/7/2020 8:00 PM, 50 min.) 6.122 million viewers

8. Debate Night In America (CNN, Wed. 10/7/2020 10:33 PM, 87 min.) 5.372 million viewers

9. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Tue. 10/6/2020 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 5.297 million viewers

10. Hannity (FOXNC, Wed. 10/7/2020 11:00 PM, 60 min.) 5.276 million viewers

Top 10 cable news programs among adults 25-54:

1. VP Debate (FOXNC, Wed. 10/7/2020 9:03 PM, 91 min.) 3.097 million adults 25-54

2. Vice Presidential Debate (CNN, Wed. 10/7/2020 9:04 PM, 89 min.) 2.924 million adults 25-54

3. VP Debate Analysis (FOXNC, Wed. 10/7/2020 10:34 PM, 26 min.) 2.333 million adults 25-54

4. Debate Night In America (CNN, Wed. 10/7/2020 10:33 PM, 87 min.) 1.948 million adults 25-54

5. VP Debate Coverage(FOXNC, Wed. 10/7/2020 8:50 PM, 13 min.) 1.876 million adults 25-54

6. Debate (MSNBC, Wed. 10/7/2020 9:03 PM, 92 min.) 1.480 million adults 25-54

7. MSNBC Debate Analysis (MSNBC, Wed. 10/7/2020 10:35 PM, 25 min.) 1.430 million adults 25-54

8. Hannity (FOXNC, Wed. 10/7/2020 11:00 PM, 60 min.) 1.351 million adults 25-54

9. Debate Night In America (CNN, Wed. 10/7/2020 8:00 PM, 64 min.) 1.243 million adults 25-54

10. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Wed. 10/7/2020 8:00 PM, 50 min.) 1.209 million adults 25-54

News Television

Jessica Tarlov, Leo Terrell Clash Over Roe v. Wade Ruling

It didn’t take long for news outlets to begin sparring on the issue, and one of the more animated ones occurred on Fox News.

Eduardo Razo

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On Friday, the Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade, which now hands over the determination of abortion legality to individual states. 

It didn’t take long for news outlets to begin sparring on the issue, and one of the more animated ones occurred on Fox News. Contributors Leo Terrell and Jessica Tarlov disputed multiple times on the topic following the ruling. 

Tarlov, a Democratic strategist and co-host of The Five, said that this decision would have dire consequences, something that made Terrell shake his head and interrupt multiple times.

“Alito made it clear that he didn’t think this it would expand to contraception and same-sex marriage, but [Clarence] Thomas said he thought they should be reevaluated, and when you consider the fact that Justices [Brett] Kavanaugh and [Neil] Gorsuch lied to the senators that they met with —” Tarlov said, per Mediaite

“They followed the law. You may not like the law, but we are a nation of laws. That’s what they did. What they basically said was if you don’t like the ruling, you go to the states,” Terrell fired back.

Tarlov and Terrell continued clashing in another segment while discussing the potential consequences. 

She said “every man that takes part in conceiving a child” should be on the hook for child support, leading to Terrell shaking his head while muttering, “oh God.”

“Stop saying, ‘Oh God!’” Tarlov said. 

“I can’t believe you’re using this quality time to push a democratic agenda. Go ahead. I’ll be quiet. Go ahead. Keep talking. It’s ridiculous,” Terrell snapped.

“I’m sorry. Were you pregnant recently?” Tarlov stated.

“Every time I come on this show, I’m attacked,” Terrell mumbled.

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News Television

Kim Godwin: “Newscasts at Some Point Will Be Totally Streamed”

Godwin sat down with Recode host and Vox journalist Peter Kafka at the Collison Conference in Toronto.

Eduardo Razo

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ABC News president Kim Godwin has been in her position for more than a year and she recently sat down with Recode host and Vox journalist Peter Kafka at the Collison Conference in Toronto, where they discussed the future of news media. 

With streaming both on the audio and visual side, becoming more of a player for news and how they reach the younger audience, Godwin says that getting to the demographic is via a digital strategy. 

“The price of admission is that digital strategy. That push alert – getting to people early,” said Godwin, per TV Newser. “And then we have people who really are in tune with the way people are consuming news.”

“You really have to niche it out. You can’t put a TikTok on Facebook…. You have to approach it with a multi-faceted and multi-pronged approach and try to get there first.”

Furthermore, Godwin wants the network to lean on their brand on various platforms that are skewered to the young generation, like TikTok. 

“ABC News is a strong news brand in America. So we are leveraging that brand on TikTok. [ABC News foreign correspondent] Ian Pannell who is covering the war in Ukraine right from the frontlines,” Godwin said.

“In addition to the reports he’s sending back for World News Tonight and Good Morning America, he’s doing TikToks. And they’re interesting, different and customized for that audience. As journalists, we are looking at our coverage in a different way.”

Godwin was then asked how she plans to get the younger crowd to turn on ABC News, where they make their money, but she says news could be heading toward being streamed rather than having the more youth turn on ABC. 

“I think there is going to be a business for us there one day (on TikTok),” said Godwin. “That’s where all the bridges are leading. Everything is getting smaller on linear, but maybe the newscasts at some point will be totally streamed, like ABC News Live,” Godwin concluded. 

“Maybe that’s where World News Tonight and GMA will eventually be. I really think we are headed that way, all the numbers show that… Maybe they meet in the middle somewhere eventually.”

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Dan Abrams: Someone in Donald Trump’s Inner Circle Could See Charges

“For the first time, I think there’s a real possibility a member of Donald Trump’s inner circle could face criminal charges related to Jan. 6,” Abrams said on Thursday’s edition of “Dan Abrams Live.”

Eduardo Razo

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The hearings into the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol remain ongoing, and following the raid on former Trump Department of Justice official Jeffrey Clark this week, anchor Dan Abrams has a bold belief. 

Abrams, the founder of Mediaite and anchor on NewsNation, considers that for the first time, someone from former President Donald Trump’s inner circle could see criminal charges.

“For the first time, I think there’s a real possibility a member of Donald Trump’s inner circle could face criminal charges related to Jan. 6,” Abrams said on Thursday’s edition of “Dan Abrams Live.”

“It’s generally seemed to me that the criminal inquiry into Trump and his inner circle in connection with Jan. 6 wasn’t going anywhere. I’m talking about what I actually think is happening, that’s all.”

Abrams stated the latest hearing and the Wednesday raid on Clark are what altered his view on whether anyone could end up seeing charges.

“What we learned today changed my analysis. That’s because federal investigators just raided the home of former trump department of justice lawyer Jeffrey Clark,” Abrams added. 

“He was the guy heading the justice department’s environmental division who Donald Trump tried to put in as acting attorney general could see was apparently the only one within the DOJ willing to support the effort to overturn the 2020 election.”

Finally, Abrams conveyed that the raid’s timing before the hearing could examine Clark’s role could lead to something significant when facing jail time.  

“To get authorization to raid his home now, the day before the Jan. 6 committee held a hearing examining Jeffrey Clark’s role in trying to overturn the election, suggest to me that they believe they suddenly could have something big,” Abrams concluded. 

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