Convention Hits High of 21.4 Million Viewers With Kamala Harris Speech

The Democratic convention got a Kamala Harris bump in its third night, with 21.4 million viewers tuning in to major TV networks to watch the vice-presidential nominee deliver her acceptance speech.

The audience was the highest so far for six broadcast and cable networks, exceeding the 18.8 million viewers who watched on Monday. The convention concludes Thursday night with an acceptance speech by presidential nominee Joe Biden.

Harris, who is Black and Indian-American, is the first non-White woman to receive the nomination of a major party. She gave an address that some reviewers said started slow but ultimately delivered with a strong line about female empowerment that also touched on concerns about her role as a prosecutor.

“I know a predator when I see one,” Harris said.

Read more: Harris takes historic role as Biden’s No. 2 with call for change

Former President Barack Obama and the 2016 Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, also spoke Wednesday night. Obama used his speech to deliver a strong rebuke of President Donald Trump.

“Donald Trump hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t,” Obama said. “The consequences of that failure are severe.”

Although the numbers rose, the convention overall is attracting far fewer TV viewers than four years ago, when 24.4 million people tuned in for the third night, according to Nielsen data. Traditional networks have seen a decline in viewers as Americans shift to more online options. This year’s virtual convention has had to cope with the coronavirus restriction on live attendees, which limits much of the excitement of the event.

Comcast Corp.’s MSNBC once again led all networks, with just under 6.5 million viewers for the coverage that began at 10 p.m. New York time.AT&T Inc.’s CNN came in second with 5.8 million, though it led among viewers ages 25-54.

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