6.2 Million Watched Sixth Democratic Debate on PBS and CNN, Lowest Rated in This Cycle

By Jason Lynch 

The ratings slide continued last night for the 2020 Democratic primary debates.

A combined 6.2 million watched the PBS NewsHour and Politico Democratic Debate last night, which aired on PBS and CNN from 8-10:30 p.m. That makes it the lowest-rated debate in this election cycle.

The CNN simulcast drew 4.1 million, while 2.1 million watched on PBS stations. In the 25-54 demo, a combined 1.5 million tuned in: CNN had 1.06 million demo viewers and PBS had 446,000.


Digital viewing on PBS, Politico and CNN platforms added an additional 424,000 to the tally, for a combined total of 6.6 million. CNN said the debate had 8.4 million digital live starts.

Despite the ratings falloff, the debate did propel CNN to No. 1 in primetime Thursday night among cable news networks, in both total viewers and the demo. More ratings info is available in the Thursday ratings scoreboard.

The debate was moderated by PBS NewsHour anchor and managing editor Judy Woodruff, Politico’s chief political correspondent Tim Alberta, PBS NewsHour senior national correspondent Amna Nawaz and PBS NewsHour White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor.

The ratings fell short of the 6.5 million who watched the fifth debate, co-hosted by MSNBC and the Washington Post, on Nov. 20. The fourth debate, hosted by CNN on Oct. 15, drew 8.55 million total viewers and 2.43 million in the 25-54 demo.

The most-watched debate of the 2020 cycle to-date was day No. 2 of NBCU’s two-night debate in June. That debate, which was part of the first of this cycle, included viewership from NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo, and it delivered a combined 18.1 million total TV viewers, 5.3 million of whom were adults 25-54.