Television ratings matter to President Trump. So these numbers may sting.
In a victory that few in the TV and political arenas predicted, Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s town hall-style forum on ABC on Thursday night drew a larger audience than President Trump’s competing event on NBC, according to Nielsen.
Mr. Biden’s town-hall meeting, which aired on a single network, was seen by an average of 15.1 million viewers, compared with 13.5 million for Mr. Trump even though the president monopolized three networks — NBC, MSNBC and CNBC — simultaneously.
The town halls were vastly different television spectacles, befitting their respective protagonists. For an hour on NBC, Mr. Trump was darting and defiant as the “Today” host Savannah Guthrie pressed him to denounce QAnon and white supremacy (Mr. Trump hesitated on both) and clear up questions about his medical condition.