(Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly reported that the Democratic National Convention ratings were slightly down from last week's Republican National Convention ratings, based on an incorrect reading of the RNC numbers. In fact, the DNC ratings were up on ABC and CBS, the two networks that aired convention coverage Wednesday.)
NBC took a decisive win with the first game of the football season, while the other networks' coverage of the Democratic National Convention posted gains on the equivalent night of last week's Republican National Convention despite the NFL competition, according to preliminary numbers.
Though Bill Clinton drew high marks for his endorsement of President Obama Wednesday, far more Americans watched football than his speech.
The nature of live sports renders NBC's numbers approximate. But as it stands, the network far and away holds first place in the advertiser-cherished 18-49 demographic, with an 8.2 rating/22 share, and in total viewers, with 20.6 million.
"The 2012 NFL Kickoff Party" at 8 p.m. drew a 5.5/17 and grabbed 14.3 million total viewers, while the game between the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants at 8:30 posted an 8.7/23 -- down from the 10.2/27 that last last year's Game 1 posted -- and attracted 21.8 million total viewers.
Univision grabbed second place in ratings with a 1.6/4 and fourth in total viewers with 3.8 million.
CBS tied Fox for third place in ratings with a 1.4/4 and drew second place in total viewers with 5 million. "Big Brother" at 8 posted a 2.1/6 and grabbed 6 million total viewers. After a "Criminal Minds" repeat the following hour, the network's convention coverage at 10 received a 0.9/2 -- a significant improvement over the 0.6/2 that CBS received during the second night of the RNC -- and drew 3.9 million total viewers.
Fox, which took third place in total viewers with 4.1 million, aired "So You Think You Can Dance" throughout its primetime roster.
ABC pulled fifth place in ratings and total viewers with a 1.0/3 and 3.6 million. The network ran repeats, aside from its convention coverage at 10, which received a 0.9/2 -- besting the 0.5/2 that its coverage of Day 2 of the RNC drew -- and had 3.5 million total viewers.