MSNBC Wins Big As Most Watched Network During DNC While CNN Takes Key Demo, Final Night Draws 21.8 Million Viewers


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CNN and MSNBC shared ratings victories on night four of the virtual DNC convention, featuring speeches from Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and most importantly the Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. 

The cable news networks have been dominating throughout the week, also scoring huge ratings on nights one, two, and three of the DNC. But both CNN and MSNBC’s numbers went down on Thursday night. The number of total viewers on the major broadcast and cable networks combined, however, went up from night three — as 21.81 million people tuned in on Thursday night, up from Wednesday’s 20.5 million.

MSNBC beat both CNN and Fox News in overall viewers, according to data from Nielsen, with 6.1 million watching MSNBC from 10-11 p.m., and 5.6 million and 2.96 million watching CNN and Fox respectively.

Although MSNBC’s ratings had been growing consistently every previous night of the convention, Thursday night’s numbers went down from Wednesday’s 6.5 million. CNN’s numbers, also went down from Thursday night, which had an audience of 5.8 million. Fox News’ audience, on the other hand, went up from Thursday’s 2.2 million viewers.

Despite the dip in Thursday night’s audience, MSNBC was still the most-watched network across both broadcast and cable in total viewers for the 2020 DNC, beating CNN who racked up the most viewers during 2016’s convention. This week was also the highest-rated in primetime in MSNBC’s history.

CNN, for the fourth day in a row, beat MSNBC in the all-important adults 25-54 demographic, with 1.7 million viewers. 1.2 million in the demo watched MSNBC, while 639,000 in the demo watched Fox News — a jump from yesterday’s 480,000.

Among the broadcast networks, ABC News got more viewers overall (2.97 million) and in the 25-54 demographic (799,000) than NBC News (2.2 million; 568,000). CBS News (1.98 million; 473,000) lagged behind not only its broadcast rivals, but all three cable news networks.

Apart from ABC edging out Fox News, all three cable news networks beat all three broadcast networks in both categories.

Read our full coverage of both nights of the Democratic Convention here.

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