Vice President Mike Pence with fly (Image: AP/Julio Cortez)

Thursday’s US vice presidential debate was the second most watched since the televised debates began in 1976. Nielsen says 59 million people watched the back and forth between Democratic hopeful Senator Kamala Harris and Vice President Mike Pence. The most watched VP debate is the 2008 meet-up between then-Delaware senator Joe Biden (now the Democratic Presidential challenger) and then-Alaska governor Sarah Palin (rightwing flake) with 70 million viewers.

That debate on October 2 2008 was broadcast on ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, Telemundo, TF, CNN, FOXN, MSNBC, CNBC, and BBC America.
The latest debate had even more outlets — ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, Telemundo, Univision, PBS, BET, BET HER, CNN, Fox Business Network, FNC, MSNBC, Newsmax, Newsy, VICE and WGNA, and was delayed on. Fox News channel led all networks with 11.3 million viewers, as it did for the first presidential debate last week, which attracted just over 73 million viewers. 

In Australia 373,000 people watched the debate on ABC News 24 and SBS. That’s quite high for a debate that doesn’t really mean much. No histrionics, no Trumpin — except for Pence talking over Harris’ at times. A male thing!

Elsewhere, Labor leader Anthony Albanese’s budget reply speech at 7.30pm netted 507,000 nationally on the ABC main channel and 30,000 on Sky News. The Bachelorette on Ten saw 703,000 — a very white bread series. In breakfast, audiences recovered a little for Sunrise and Today. Sunrise led with 414,000 national and 231,000 metro viewers, Today was on 299,000 and 204,000, but ABC News Breakfast averaged 284,000 and 189,000. School holidays end in most states this weekend and daylight saving’s impact seems to have faded.

Network channel share:

  1. Seven (29.1%)
  2. Nine (24.6%)
  3. Ten (22.3%)
  4. ABC (15.7%)
  5. SBS (8.4.%)

Network main channels:

  1. Seven (18.0%)
  2. Nine (17.2%)
  3. Ten (15.7%)
  4. ABC (10.2%)
  5. SBS ONE (4.9%)

Top 5 digital channels: 

  1. 7mate (5.1%)
  2. 7TWO (4.0%)
  3. 10 Bold (3.7%)
  4. ABC Kids/Comedy (2.7%)
  5. 10 Peach (2.6%) 

Top 10 national programs:

  1. Seven News — 1.5036 million
  2. Seven News 6.30 — 1.475 million 
  3. Nine/NBN News   — 1.149 million
  4. Nine/NBN News  6.30 — 1.142 million
  5. 7pm ABC News — 991,000
  6. Home and Away (Seven) — 814,000
  7. A Current Affair (Nine)  —- 986,000
  8. The Chase Australia 5.30pm (Seven) — 805,000
  9. Gogglebox Australia (Ten) — 800,000
  10. The Bachelorette (Ten) — 703,000

Top metro programs: None with a million or more

Losers:  Weak, and that includes The Bachelorette.

Metro news and current affairs:

  1. Seven News — 970,000
  2. Seven News 6.30 — 947,000
  3. Nine News — 891,000
  4. Nine News 6.30 —878,000
  5. ACA (Nine) — 772,000
  6. 7pm ABC News — 665,000
  7. The Project 7pm (Ten) — 481,000
  8. Budget in Reply Speech (ABC) — 335,000
  9. Ten News First — 328,000
  10. The Project 6.30 (Ten) — 323,000

Morning (National) TV:

  1. Sunrise (Seven) — 414,000/231,000
  2. Today (Nine) — 299,000/2048,000
  3. News Breakfast (ABC, ABC News) — 284,000/189,000
  4. The Morning Show (Seven) — 241,000 
  5. Today Extra (Nine) — 160,000
  6. Studio 10 (Ten) — 76,000

Top five pay TV programs:

  1. Paul Murray Live (Sky News) —71,000
  2. The Bolt Report (Sky News) — 61,000
  3. Credlin (Sky News) — 59,000
  4. Outback Opal Hunters (Discovery) — 58,000
  5. Alan Jones (Sky News) — 53,000

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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