18 Million on Tuesday, But How Many Will Watch ABC’s Debate on Saturday?

By Mark Joyella 

How many viewers will skip the Democratic presidential debate on ABC Saturday night and go stand on line for Star Wars? That’s the question Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley are asking.

An O’Malley spokesperson told The New York Times that avoiding prime-time debate–like CNN’s Tuesday night GOP debate, which attracted 18 million viewers–is intentional, designed to “protect” Hillary Clinton‘s status as the Democratic frontrunner.

“We’re playing the hand we were dealt,” Sanders campaign spokesperson Michael Briggs told The Times. “I guess Christmas Eve was booked.”

The last Democratic debate, on CBS, was also on a Saturday, and attracted 8.5 million viewers–by far the smallest audience of any of the presidential debates this cycle.