September 30, 2020


NOTE: The numbers below for 9:00-11:00PM include PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE coverage on ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX affiliates in the Eastern and Central time zones and various local programs in the Pacific time zone after 9 pm PT. The West Coast viewing of the Debate from 6:00-8:00PM PT will be added to the Debate measurement in the official nationals this afternoon, along with cable network ratings.

DEMOGRAPHIC DETAIL: For each broadcast program (or hour segment), the chart below displays preliminary live+same day key advertiser demographics (adult 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54 ratings), audience skews (women 18-49, men 18-49 and adults 50+ shares) and total viewership (thousands of people over the age of 2).

Ratings analysis and comparisons follow the chart.

ABC: After a pre-Debate special at 1.2, the network’s preliminary PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE rating was 2.6.  That compared to 2.9 for the first debate in 2016.  An analysis special (the only part of network coverage to include commercials) followed at 2.0.

CBS:  The preliminary debate rating was 1.1, compared to 3.8 in 2016 (which was on a Sunday when CBS had the afternoon national NFL game).  Analysis was at 0.9.

NBC:  WEAKEST LINK had a solid premiere at a preliminary 1.3  The initial debate rating was 2.1.  NBC didn’t air the first debate in 2016 due to Sunday Night Football.

FOX:  After an episode of COSMOS at a preliminary 0.5, the initial debate rating was 1.3 (there was no national analysis special), compared to 1.9 in 2016.

CW:  Reruns of WHOSE LINE IS IT ANYWAY were at 0.2/0.2, followed by the season finale of TELL ME A STORY steady at 0.1.

Tonight, CW’s THE 100 comes to an end, and Comedy Central (simulcast with other Viacom networks) airs a special pandemic-themed episode of SOUTH PARK.

COMPARISONS TO SIMILAR NIGHTS: Preliminary adult 18-49 live+same day ratings versus the same night last year and same night last week.

Note: The fast affiliate-based ratings below measure what aired on network affiliates in 210 U.S. markets from 8-11 pm Eastern & Pacific or 7-10 pm Central & Mountain. The numbers are some combination of the network schedule and any pre-emptions (such as local news or weather coverage). Accurate program ratings will be available this afternoon with the broadcast finals.

CABLE RATINGS: Come back this afternoon for detailed demographic ratings for top Tuesday cable programs and broadcast finals.






About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."