18 Million Watch CNN GOP Debate

By Chris Ariens 

CNN reversed a trend of declining viewership for the primary debates, drawing 18.04 million total viewers and 5.6 million in the A25-54 demo for its GOP debate, making it the 3rd most-watched primary debate ever.

Last night’s debate, moderated by Wolf Blitzer along with Hugh Hewitt and Dana Bash, was bested by the first two outings in August (on FNC) and September (on CNN), but drew more viewers than the two most-recent debates on CNBC and FBN. This was the 5th GOP debate of this cycle. By this time in the 2012 cycle there had been 13 GOP debates.

The early debate with the lower-tier candidates at 6 p.m. ET drew 5.21 million total viewers and 1.291 million in the demo.

The next debate will be held Saturday night in New Hampshire among the three Democratic candidates, with coverage on ABC. The next GOP debate will be Jan. 14 on Fox Business.

Here’s the 2016 debate ranker, which includes Nielsen viewership data, along with livestreaming information provided by the networks.

Debate Network Total Viewers A25-54 Streams
Aug. 6 | GOP Fox News 24,000,000 7,900,000 2,400000**
Sept. 16 | GOP CNN 22,940,000 6,900,000 4,500,000
Oct. 13 | Dem CNN 15,791,000 4,998,000 4,300,000
Oct. 28 | GOP CNBC 14,000,000 3,900,000 ***
Nov. 10 | GOP FBN 13,500,000 3,670,000 2,580,000
Nov. 14 | Dem CBS 8,500,000 2,120,000 1,200,000
Dec. 15 | GOP CNN 18,165,000 5,560,000 3,100,000
Dec. 19 | Dem ABC TBD TBD TBD
Jan. 17 | Dem NBC TBD TBD TBD

**Users needed to be an authenticated viewer to watch the livestream.
***CNBC is not sharing their livestream data.