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First night of Donald Trump's GOP convention is a ratings hit

First night of Donald Trump's GOP convention is a ratings hit
Donald Trump stands with his wife, Melania, after her prime-time speech Monday night at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. (Associated Press)

Donald Trump has been a ratings draw for most of the events related to the 2016 presidential campaign, and the first night of the Republican National Convention that will choose him as the party's nominee was no different.

Nielsen data showed a significant audience lift for cable news networks on Monday compared to the Aug. 28, 2012, opening night of the last GOP convention, which was delayed to a day because of weather.

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Fox News Channel, which typically draws the largest audience for the GOP confab, led prime-time coverage Monday with 5.5 million viewers from 8 to 11 p.m. ET, a gain of 7% over 2012, when the party faithful gathered to nominate former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

CNN saw a far bigger Trump bump as its prime-time audience of 3.6 million viewers was up 200% from 2012. MSNBC was up 46% to 1.9 million viewers.

While Fox News also led among the 25 to 54 age group that advertisers seek for the commercials they buy on news programming, CNN made significant inroads in the category. Fox News ranked first with 1.3 million viewers in the demographic, a gain of 11% over 2012. But CNN was close behind with 1.18 million, thanks to a 220% increase.

In 2012, Fox News had 1.17 million viewers in the demographic for the first convention night, compared with 369,000 for CNN.

MSNBC scored 469,000 viewers in the 25 to 54 category, up 39% from 2012.

More than 22 million viewers watched across cable and broadcast networks during the 10 p.m. ET hour that featured an appearance by Trump and a speech by his wife, Melania, which soon became engulfed in controversy as several passages were directly borrowed from First Lady Michelle Obama's remarks to the Democratic National Convention in 2008.

Fox News had 6.4 million viewers in the hour, followed by CNN with 3.94 million, NBC with 3.91 million, ABC with 3.6 million, CBS with 2.7 million and MSNBC with 1.99 million. NBC's broadcast coverage led in the 25 to 54 demographic with 1.6 million viewers.

Twitter: @SteveBattaglio

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