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TV audience dips to 17.3 million on Night 3 of Republican convention

Vice President Mike Pence and wife Karen Pence
Vice President Mike Pence arrives with his wife, Karen, before speaking during the third night of the Republican National Convention on Wednesday.
(Saul Loeb / AFP/Getty Images)

Viewing of the Republican National Convention dropped on Wednesday to 17.3 million people for the address by Vice President Mike Pence.

The figure provided by Nielsen is down 11% from the 19.4 million viewers who watched First Lady Melania Trump speak from the White House Rose Garden on Tuesday.

The total is just above the convention’s opening night total of 17 million viewers on Monday. Wednesday night’s figure for the GOP is down 31% from the 24.4 million viewers who watched the third night of the 2016 Republican convention that nominated Trump.

The third night of the Democratic National Convention on Aug. 19 was watched by 22.8 million viewers. The program featured Sen. Kamala Harris’ acceptance speech for the vice presidential nomination.

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Convention viewing on Wednesday may have been diminished by many viewers along the Gulf Coast tuning into local coverage of Hurricane Laura, which was bearing down on the region at the time.

Both the Democratic and Republican conventions are well under the viewing levels from 2016 as traditional TV viewing has declined significantly among viewers younger than 50.

More people are turning to streaming video platforms to watch some portion of the conventions. The Democratic National Committee said there were 35 million streams of its convention across various sites and apps last week.

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Fox News was the most-watched TV channel for coverage between 10 and 11:15 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday, with an average of 7.66 million viewers, followed by NBC (1.966 million), ABC (1.895 million), CBS (1.781 million), CNN (1.515 million) and MSNBC (1.480 million).

Fox News, the favorite network of Trump supporters, continued to dominate the competition by accruing a 45% share of the convention audience.

Coverage also ran on Fox Business Network, Newsy, Newsmax, CNN en Español and PBS. Nielsen data for those channels will be added to the audience total later today.

Along with Pence, speakers in the hour included the president’s daughter-in-law Lara Trump; Sam Vigil, whose wife was killed in a carjacking; Clarence Henderson, a Black desegregation activist; and Richard Grenell, President Trump’s former acting national intelligence director.

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Trump is scheduled to accept his party’s nomination for a second term Thursday night with a speech from the South Lawn of the White House.


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