Jon Stewart's Daily Show farewell on Thursday was not only upstaged by the GOP debate on TV—which helped Fox News shatter the cable news record with 24 million viewers—it was beaten on social media as well.
Compared with the debate, which drew 3.2 million event-related tweets and a unique audience of 9.2 million, Stewart's final Daily Show paled in comparison. The hour-long episode had just 233,000 event-related tweets and a unique audience of 4.3 million.
Despite the GOP showdown turning into the Donald Trump Show, the most-tweeted moment featured another pair of Republican contenders: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul. Their confrontation over NSA domestic spying drew 29,000 tweets, according to Nielsen Social.
— Katie Couric (@katiecouric) August 7, 2015
First dustup! Paul opposes NSA spying, Christie says ridiculous and stop blowing hot air, Paul says gov gave Obama big hug #GOPDebate
— HowardKurtz (@HowardKurtz) August 7, 2015
The most-tweeted moment of The Daily Show—when Stephen Colbert showed up to pay tribute to Stewart—drew 3,700 tweets. (By comparison, Pretty Little Liars drew 3,800 tweets in the minute following the ABC Family series' summer finale last Tuesday.)
So how does the debate stack up against other high-profile TV events?
The Oscars—which is annually the most-watched non-sports event on TV and fell to a six-year low with 36.6 million viewers this year—had 5.9 million event-related tweets and a unique audience of 13 million. Neither the GOP debate nor the Oscars come close to the biggest TV event this year—Super Bowl XLIX—which boasted 25 million event-related tweets and a unique audience of more than 116 million.