1st night of DNC bests RNC in TV ratings race

Associated Press Modified: September 5, 2012 at 10:01 pm •  Published: September 5, 2012

NEW YORK (AP) — Michelle Obama has bragging rights over Ann Romney in one early measurement — television ratings.

The Nielsen Co. said about 26.2 million people watched the opening night of the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday in Charlotte, N.C., where the first lady was the featured speaker.

Last week, Nielsen said 22.3 million watched the first night of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., where potential first lady Ann Romney talked about her husband, Mitt. The same number of viewers watched the Democrats' first night in 2008, when Michelle Obama was also the featured speaker.

NBC was the most popular network during the 10 p.m. ET hour on Tuesday, with just over 5 million viewers. CBS had 3.27 million and ABC had 3.24 million, Nielsen said. PBS, which broadcast throughout prime time, had 3.8 million viewers during the 10 p.m. hour.

Cable television ratings indicate the degree to which viewers seek ideological comfort zones. Fox News Channel, which has shows that appeal to conservatives, had the smallest audience of the three cable news and three broadcast networks, with 2.4 million viewers. During opening night of last week's GOP convention, Fox topped everyone with 6.9 million, or nearly three times as many people.

The left-leaning MSNBC had 4.1 million viewers on Monday, up sharply from the 1.5 million viewers who watched the network cover the first night of the GOP. It's also nearly twice the audience MSNBC had four years ago, when the network was less partisan.

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