More than 55 million people watched the final presidential debate

More Than 55 Million People Watched The Final Presidential Debate
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - OCTOBER 22: U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden participate in the final presidential debate at Belmont University on October 22, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee. This is the last debate between the two candidates before the November 3 election. (Photo by Jim Bourg-Pool/Getty Images)

More than 55 million people watched Thursday night’s debate, according to preliminary Nielsen TV ratings.

The debate between President Trump and Joe Biden averaged 55.2 million viewers across the six biggest broadcast and cable channels on American television.

For comparison’s sake, 62 million people watched the first Trump-Biden debate on those same six channels, which means the second and final debate of the season was down just about 11 percent from the first.

Frequently the first debate of an election cycle is the most-watched, so this year’s results follow a familiar pattern. Thursday’s high ratings reflect intense interest in the election.

These numbers are preliminary. The official total, to be released by Nielsen later in the day on Friday, will be even higher because it will count additional channels.

The finalized total for the first debate of the season was 73.1 million.

The Nielsen ratings only include Americans who watched on television sets. An unknown number of people live-streamed the debate on various devices, listened on the radio, or watched in other ways.