President Biden’s ABC News Interview Draws 8.5 Million TV Viewers

About 8.5 million viewers tuned in Friday night to President Joe Biden’s much-anticipated interview with ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos, in which the President sought to convince voters and fellow Democrats that he is still the best candidate to run for re-election against Donald Trump.

The roughly 25-minute pre-recorded interview that aired at 8 p.m. ET on Friday evening averaged 8.5 million viewers, according to Nielsen’s preliminary ratings covering the nation’s largest markets. That’s a fraction of the 51 million viewers who watched Biden stumble in the June 27 live debate against former President Trump.

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The half-hour program, billed as “ABC News Special: One on One With President Biden,” proved a prime showcase for Stephanopoulos, who landed the interview earlier this week as Biden sought to do damage control from the disastrous debate. Stephanopoulos grilled the 81-year-old President on the questions that have swirled ever since he declared his intent to seek re-election: Does he have the mental capacity and stamina for the job?

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The preliminary viewership report does not incorporate streaming viewing or replays of the interview, which was made available free on numerous digital platforms. By Friday night standards, the 8.048 million viewer turnout was strong but it was not nearly enough to change the “what-now” conversation surrounding Democrats and the party’s chances against Trump in November.

The bulk of the Friday night TV audience came from viewers over the age of 55. In the adults 25-54 demo, Biden grabbed about 900,000 viewers; in adults 18-49, he commanded about 580,000. In his 8 p.m. time slot, Biden did enjoy a big lead over Fox’s “WWE Smackdown” (2 million total viewers) and the CBS game show “Lingo” (2.1 million viewers).

The 8.5 million turnout was strong enough to make “One on One” the most-watched ABC News program in primetime in six years, since Stephanopoulos sat down with embattled former FBI director James Comey in April 2018.

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