Election Night US TV figures down on 2016 in early broadcast data

Around 22.8 million total US viewers tuned in to watch the beginning of Election Night

US TV figures for yesterday’s Election Night are down on 2016, according to early broadcast numbers.

While the final result of the 2020 presidential election is yet to be determined, viewership figures for last night’s back-and-forth race between Donald Trump and Joe Biden have started to come in and it looks like they’re not as strong as in previous cycles.

According to Variety, around 22.8 million total US viewers tuned in to watch the beginning of Election Night across the channels ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, Univision and Telemundo.


Although these are very early figures, they are down significantly from Election Night 2016 at the same stage.

Currently, ABC leads the way with 5.9 million total viewers, followed closely by NBC with 5.7 million. CBS is in third with 4.4 million viewers, with Fox drawing 3.6 million viewers in fourth.

Back in 2016, NBC had double the audience in the early figures and was leading, while ABC‘s numbers sat just under 10 million.

The total number to beat from the previous election is 71.4 million, which was Nielsen’s final count across more than a dozen networks last time around.

Barack Obama
Barack Obama’s historic victory in 2008 currently holds the record for America’s biggest TV viewership. CREDIT: Hannes Magerstaedt/Getty Images

The record TV viewership for election night is the 71.5 million which took place when Barack Obama scored his historic victory back in 2008.


A more accurate final total for Election Night 2020 will be revealed once more accurate time zone adjusted numbers are counted, as well those from cable news networks and multiple other carriers which will become available later in the day.

Earlier today is was revealed that Joe Biden has earned the most votes of any presidential candidate in US election history.

The Democratic presidential candidate and his rival President Trump are currently awaiting the results of the US presidential election as polls are closing.

However, recent counts show that Biden has won the most votes of any presidential candidate in US election history, surpassing the total Barack Obama achieved in 2008.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump has confirmed that he will go to the Supreme Court and demand that the counting of votes is stopped in the US election.

Speaking to supporters and press at the White House, the President prematurely claimed that “we did win” the election against Joe Biden and Democratic Party (despite having no basis to do so) – before confirming plans to halt ballot counting in states that are yet to declare due to mail-in voting.