ABC News Saw Significant Ratings Bounce With Joe Biden Interview And Easily Won Timeslot, Early Numbers Show

UPDATE, 11:58 AM PT: Nielsen fast national numbers show that George Stephanopoulos’ interview with President Joe Biden easily won its timeslot on Friday, drawing 8.5 million viewers.

The 22-minute interview, presented as a special edition of This Week, was the best performing ABC News program since Stephanopoulos’ interview with James Comey in 2018. The exception is election night and debate coverage.

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PREVIOUSLY: George Stephanopoulos’ interview with President Joe Biden easily won its timeslot on Friday, with early Nielsen fast affiliate numbers showing it drew 8.1 million viewers.

That figure is greater than NBC, CBS and Fox combined, according to Nielsen. The network said that it was the most-watched ABC News program in primetime since Stephanopoulos’ interview with James Comey in April, 2018, the exception being election night and debate coverage.

The 8 p.m. ET primetime interview, One on One with President Biden, was presented as a special edition of This Week. The president said that his poor debate performance was due to exhaustion and that he had a cold, while he insisted that he would not step aside. Stephanopoulos also pressed him on whether he would take an independent cognitive test, but Biden would not commit to it and instead said that he was tested every day by the duties of the office.

The audience for the interview is far smaller than the debate, which drew 51.3 million viewers on CNN and across networks the simulcast the event. The Stephanopoulos interview was arranged amid calls from donors and other supporters that the president had to do more unscripted interviews and press conferences to show that he was fit for the campaign and for another term.

An excerpt of the 22-minute interview, conducted earlier on Friday, aired on ABC News’ World News Tonight.

Other early numbers show that CBS’ Lingo drew 2.08 million viewers, Fox’s WWE Friday Night Smackdown drew 2.01 million and NBC’s Night Court posted 1.20 million.

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