RNC night 4 ratings: 32 million watch Trump, up from Romney in 2012


Editor’s note: An earlier version of this post made an incorrect comparison between the audience for the Republican National Convention’s final nights in 2016 and 2012. Corrected figures throughout are below.

The final night of the Republican National Convention, and Donald Trump’s acceptance of the party’s nomination for president, drew TV numbers somewhat higher than those of Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech in 2012.

About 30.2 million people tuned into the speech on ABC, CBS, NBC and the three biggest cable news channels — Fox News, CNN and NBC. Just under 25.3 million watched Romney on those same channels four years ago.

Adding coverage on Fox Business, CNBC and Spanish-language channels Univision and NBC Universo, and Trump’s total audience rises to 32.2 million, per Nielsen. That’s an improvement of about 6 percent from the 30.25 million who saw Romney’s speech across the same number of channels in 2012.

As has been the case for the convention as a whole, Fox News led the night with 9.49 million viewers, up a little from 9.06 million in 2012. For the final three nights the channel averaged 7.36 million viewers, off about 7 percent from its 7.88 million for 2012 (which only had three days of dedicated 10 p.m. ET coverage).

CNN finished second Thursday with 5.5 million viewers, beating out the 4.59 million for broadcast leader NBC. CNN posted the biggest gains vs. four years ago, averaging 4 million viewers in 2016 vs. only 1.71 million in 2012.

Below are the numbers from Thursday’s 10 p.m. ET coverage and the four-day average for the convention as a whole on the broadcast nets and three biggest cable news channels.


Network Viewers (millions) Adults 25-54 rating Adults 18-49 rating
Fox News 9.49 2.1 1.5
CNN 5.50 1.6 1.2
NBC 4.59 1.5 1.1
ABC 3.86 1.2 0.8
CBS 3.81 1.0 0.7
MSNBC 2.97 0.8 0.6


Convention average

Network Viewers (millions) Adults 25-54 rating Adults 18-49 rating
Fox News 7.11 1.5 1.1
NBC 4.56 1.4 1.1
CNN 4.00 1.1 0.9
ABC 3.04 0.9 0.6
CBS 2.91 0.8 0.6
MSNBC 2.12 0.5 0.4

Source: The Nielsen Company.

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