Joe Biden Interview Boosts ABC News Ratings, Dominates Timeslot

Biden navigates challenges in rare unscripted television appearance.

by Nouman Rasool
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Joe Biden Interview Boosts ABC News Ratings, Dominates Timeslot
© Scott Olson/Getty Images

Though it broke through the 8 million viewer threshold on Friday, early Nielsen fast affiliate numbers reveal that George Stephanopoulos' recent interview with President Joe Biden emerged as a prime-time leader. The ratings result also set a high for ABC News in prime-time viewers since Stephanopoulos' 2018 interview with James Comey (excluding special election night and debate coverage).

A special edition of "This Week," titled "One on One with President Biden," aired Sunday at 8 p.m. ET and featured the president tackling his recent debate struggles. He had released a statement explaining his low-energy debate performance due to "exhaustion and catching the common cold," so he waived aside talk about resigning.

In a wide-ranging interview, Stephanopoulos pressed Biden on topics like the president's unwillingness to undertake any independent cognitive test. Biden followed by pointing to the intensive daily demands of his office as an ongoing exam, he said.

Biden's Strategic Interview

Still, Biden's interview was not in the same league ratings-wise as had been last month's debates, which ran up a 51.3 million viewership on CNN and other networks. The Stephanopoulos interview is strategically timed after donors, as well as supporters of Trump in talks with the White House communication team, have pushed for additional unscripted public appearances from the president to show he's ready for both a re-election campaign and also his job in general.

The chat, all of which was recounted in 22 minutes, took place earlier in the day and was a portion was later included on ABC News’ “World News Tonight. In contrast, other networks had difficulty winning over an audience at the same hour as ABC.

CBS game show "Lingo," 2.08 million; WWE's Friday Night Smackdown, Fox, 2.01 million, NBC's ingenious revival of the ensemble classic night court brought home only about.20million Viewers." In ABC's case, the resilient performance highlights a country still interested in how presidents speak and one of strategic media planning continues to affect viewership.

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