• By The Financial District


Joe Biden's town hall on ABC averaged 14.1 million viewers, easily surpassing the Nielsen ratings for President Trump's town hall on NBC. That alone was a result virtually no one in the TV business expected. And that's not even the most surprising part, Brian Stelter reported for CNN Business.

The Trump town hall was simulcast by two of NBC's cable channels, MSNBC and CNBC, but even when those channels are included in the total, Biden -- on only one network -- still prevailed.

The Trump town hall averaged 10.9 million viewers on the NBC broadcast network. On MSNBC, Trump reached 1.8 million viewers, and on CNBC, about 720,000 viewers. So Trump's gross audience across the three channels was 13.5 million, still fewer than Biden's audience on ABC alone.

The final totals were provided by Nielsen on Friday evening. Earlier, preliminary data showed slightly smaller audiences for both the NBC and ABC telecasts. Staffers at ABC News privately admitted to their surprise about the ratings victory. And Biden allies wondered if Trump would react angrily. In the run-up to Thursday night, the Trump campaign embraced the popular ratings narrative and predicted that Trump would outrate Biden. Trump campaign senior adviser Jason Miller said "we're gonna have a much bigger audience than Joe." After Thursday night's Nielsen data showed the opposite, Biden campaign national press secretary TJ Ducklo tweeted, "Turns out more people last night were interested in watching a leader with a clear plan to get this pandemic under control and Americans back to work, than the same combative, chaotic liar whose incompetence got us into this mess — regardless of how many channels he was on."