The good news is that more people watched the CBS Democratic primary debate Saturday night than any other broadcast that evening. The bad news is, Saturday night is not exactly network TV’s hottest night for ratings. The debate, the first of this cycle broadcast on network TV, averaged 8.55 million viewers, according to Nielsen time adjusted live plus same day fast national ratings.
The numbers are a part of the continuing decline in viewership for the primary debates, although this time the drop, about 5 million off of the preceding debate, FBN’s GOP primary, is a lot sharper.
CBSN, CBS’ livestreaming network, had 1.2 million livestreams of the debate.
Many viewed the drop in ratings less as a natural falloff and more as one engineered by Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the DNC to purposely schedule debates for dates and times conducive to low viewership, as a way to protect Hillary Clinton and make sure the debates don’t negatively affect her lead.
— Greg Sargent (@ThePlumLineGS) November 16, 2015
The DNC is going to face a lot of heat over its debate schedule given these numbers. 8.5 million viewers = some unhappy campaigns.
— Gabriel Debenedetti (@gdebenedetti) November 15, 2015
This is a great debate. Too bad the DNC won't allow another until 2022.
— Matt Bai (@mattbai) November 15, 2015
Big winner of the debate so far is the DNC for scheduling the #DemDebate on a Saturday night when most casual voters would not be watching.
— Josh Jordan (@NumbersMuncher) November 15, 2015