Joe Biden was a much bigger draw than Donald Trump on Thursday night, with about 10 million tuning in to hear him address the nation — the biggest cable draw of the year, cable television executives said.
Though nearly a quarter of the 10 million on the FNCs and CNNs and A&Es of the world were between 18 and 49, and about 30 percent were between 35 and 49, the core audience for network TV, the 64-year-old former senator from Delaware was the top cable draw by a wide margin.
Mr. Trump, by contrast, drew about 6 million on Fox News — a number the network said was in line with the number who tuned in last Wednesday night to see President Obama deliver remarks on the shooting of five police officers in Dallas. That is the least-watched debate for the network since at least 1995, though it does not include the average viewership for last year’s presidential election.
Thursday night’s matchup was another hit for Fox News, which has emerged as the preeminent cable news network in the age of Trump. Its debate averaged 10.9 million viewers, according to Nielsen, second only to CNN’s event in 2012.
Indeed, Fox News led all of cable television Thursday night in the key ad-saturated demos for both Trump and Hillary Clinton, except for the least-watched timeslot, from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Since 1996, when Nielsen began tracking viewership of each debate, the Trump and Clinton match-up on Wednesday night held the first place in that category. The top cable drama was the Friday night show “The Blacklist” on NBC, with nearly 4 million.