Harris, Pence showdown second most-watched VP debate in TV history

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Nearly 58 million people tuned in to catch Wednesday night’s showdown between Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris  — making it the second most-watched VP debate in TV-history, according to Nielsen.

An estimated 57.9 television viewers watched the lone 2020 vice presidential debate, easily outpacing the 2016 matchup between Pence and Sen. Tim Kaine, which drew some 37 million pairs of eyes.

That makes this year’s matchup second only to the 2008 debate between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin, which was watched by nearly 70 million people.

In third place is the 1984 contest between George H.W. Bush and Geraldine Ferraro, the first female vice presidential nominee representing a major political party in America.

This means that since VP debates started in 1976, the top three most-watched featured a woman on stage, according to Nielsen.

The count doesn’t include those who streamed the debate on TV screens or who only watched on a digital device.

Generally, vice presidential debates draw fewer viewers than presidential ones, such as last week’s face-off between Biden and President Trump, which netted more than 73 million viewers.

It’s unclear whether the two candidates will meet on the debate stage again, since Trump said on Thursday that he wouldn’t participate in their scheduled Oct. 15 matchup, after organizers said it would be held virtually.