Fox News’ Trump-less GOP Debate Draws 12.5 Million Viewers

Trump's competing town hall draws a few million.

It was inevitable that the story of last night’s Fox News GOP debate was one in which ratings would play a prominent role. When Donald Trump decided to bow out of last night’s debate because of a bruised ego, or fear of a Megyn Kelly rematch, or whichever reason you think is the real one, the candidate’s campaign boasted that without him, the debate audience would dissipate into the ether–or over to his competing fundraiser/rally/town hall/sideshow.

“You know, maybe Fox News was going to have a 20 to 25 million person debate. But without Mr. Trump’s participation, I think they may have a one or two million person debate,” said Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski in an appearance on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.

So while Trump continues to run for president of America’s ratings or something, here’s how the ratings panned out:

The debate reached 12.5 million total viewers, according to early Nielsen research, outperforming the previous GOP debate hosted by FBN and making it the sixth most-watched GOP debate of the seven that have taken place so far.

As for the networks that obliged in giving Trump’s town hall a national stage, CNN pulled in 1.76 million viewers in the 9-11 p.m. spot, and MSNBC 1.03 million. Both aired the town hall within this period of time.

Turns out, that 1-2 million figure Lewandowski predicted for Fox News was more accurate when applied to Trump’s solo run.

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