Show an ad over header. AMP

57.9 million people watched the vice presidential debate on television

Nearly 58 million people watched the vice presidential debate between Sen. Kamala Harris and Vice President Mike Pence on television on Wednesday night, according to Nielsen ratings, making it the second most-watched VP debate in TV history.

Why it matters: The debate was the first major political event since President Trump was diagnosed with coronavirus last week. It featured two candidates that could theoretically be asked to step in for their bosses if elected, incentivizing viewers to watch.


Be smart: The chaotic nature of the first debate, which drew big numbers, may have also attracted viewers to Wednesday's showdown between Harris and Pence.

  • The most-watched vice presidential debate in history was the 2008 debate between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin.
  • Last cycle's vice presidential matchup between Sen. Tim Kaine and Pence was watched by 37.2 million people.

Details: Fox News drew the overall highest number of viewers this year, followed by ABC, CNN, MSNBC, NBC, CBS and FOX (the broadcast network).

Between the lines: Viewership was highest during the 9:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET hour, when candidates were talking about the coronavirus, health care, the economy and China, according to an analysis from MiQ, a marketing intelligence company.

Between the lines: Nielsen ratings used to only measure traditional TV viewership. This year, out-of-home streaming in places like bars and restaurants and connected TV (CTV) viewership on platforms like Sling TV were also included.

  • There's no way of measuring exactly how many people streamed the debate on social media or watched clips of it online, but millions more Americans presumably tuned in via digital channels that Nielsen doesn't measure.
  • Nielsen doesn't measure streaming on platforms like YouTube, Facebook or Twitter.

What's next: The Commission on Presidential Debates said Thursday that the next debate on Oct. 15 would be held virtually, given that President Trump is still battling the coronavirus. Trump said later Thursday morning that he won’t take part in the virtual debate, and asked to delay the debate by a week — a request that was swiftly rejected by the Biden campaign.

Go deeper: Over 73 million people watched the first presidential debate on TV

Defense makes closing arguments in Chauvin trial

Chauvin's defense attorney Eric Nelson opened his closing argument on Monday by reminding the jury that Derek Chauvin "does not have to prove his innocence."

Why it matters: The jury's verdict in Chauvin's murder trial is seen by advocates as one of the most crucial civil rights cases in decades.

Keep reading... Show less

Merrick Garland: Domestic terrorism is "still with us" and remains critical threat

In his first major speech, Attorney General Merrick Garland warned the nation Monday to remain vigilant against the rising threat of domestic extremism.

Why it matters: Domestic terrorism poses an "elevated threat" to the nation this year, according to U.S. intelligence. Garland has already pledged to crack down on violence linked to white supremacists and right-wing militia groups.

Keep reading... Show less

"Nine minutes and 29 seconds": Prosecutors begin closing arguments in Chauvin trial

Steve Schleicher, an attorney for the prosecution in Derek Chauvin's trial, began closing arguments on Monday by describing in detail George Floyd's last moments — crying out for help and surrounded by strangers, as Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd for nine minutes and 29 seconds.

Why it matters: The jury's verdict in Chauvin's murder trial, seen by advocates as one of the most crucial civil rights cases in decades, will reverberate across the country and have major implications in the fight for racial justice.

Keep reading... Show less

European soccer goes to war over wealthy clubs' plans for exclusive "Super League"

Europe's biggest soccer clubs have established The Super League, a new midweek tournament that would compete with — and threaten the very existence of — the Champions League.

Why it matters: This new league, set to start in 2023, "would bring about the most significant restructuring of elite European soccer since the 1950s, and could herald the largest transfer of wealth to a small set of teams in modern sports history," writes NYT's Tariq Panja.

Keep reading... Show less

81% of S&P 500 companies have reported a positive earnings surprise for Q1

First-quarter earnings so far have been very strong, outpacing even the rosy expectations from Wall Street and that's a trend that's expected to continue for all of 2021. S&P 500 companies are on pace for one of the best quarters of positive earnings surprises on record, according to FactSet.

Why it matters: The results show that not only has the earnings recession ended for U.S. companies, but firms are performing better than expected and the economy may be justifying all the hype.

Keep reading... Show less

NASA's Mars helicopter takes flight as first aircraft piloted on another planet

NASA successfully piloted the Ingenuity Mars helicopter for its first experimental flight on Monday, briefly hopping the aircraft as NASA's Perseverance rover collected data.

Why it matters: Ingenuity's short flight marks the first time a human-built aircraft has flown on a world other than Earth, opening the door to new means of exploring planets far from our own.

Keep reading... Show less

All U.S. adults now eligible for COVID-19 vaccine, meeting Biden's April 19 deadline

All 50 U.S. states, plus Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, have now made U.S. adults over the age of 16 eligible for COVID-19 vaccines, meeting President Biden's April 19 deadline.

Why it matters: The landmark speaks to the increased pace of the national vaccination campaign, but will increase pressure on the federal government, states and pharmaceutical companies to provide adequate vaccine supply and logistics.

Keep reading... Show less

Minneapolis braces for a verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial

Minneapolis is waking up to images of an occupied city on Monday, as the city and the world await a verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial.

What it's like: Residents running errands, picking up dinner and heading to the dog park in recent days encountered heavily-armed National Guard troops stationed throughout the city.

Keep reading... Show less

Insights

mail-copy

Get Goodhumans in your inbox

Most Read

More Stories