8.03 million viewers watched the PBS NewsHour’s Democratic Debate last night, with the majority watching on CNN, which paid PBS to simulcast the debate. CNN averaged 4.1 million viewers while PBS averaged 3.9 million. The debate, moderated by PBS’ Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff, included two breaks: one after introductions and one at the half-way mark. This allowed CNN to squeeze in commercial breaks.
The 8.03 million viewer total is far ahead of the 4.4 million that watched the most recent Democratic debate on MSNBC on Feb. 4., but behind the Jan. 17 debate on NBC which was watched by 10.2 million. The simulcast will also mean CNN was the most-watched cable news network last night.
Here’s the 2016 debate ranker, which includes Nielsen viewership data, along with livestreaming information provided by the networks.
|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||2,800,000|
|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||7,850,000||1,928,000||***|
|Jan. 14 | GOP||FBN||11,094,000||2,983,000||1,900,000|
|Jan. 17 | Dem||NBC||10,200,000||3,170,000||1,200,000|
|Jan. 28 | GOP||Fox News||12,466,000||3,467,000||1,350,000|
|Feb. 4 | Dem||MSNBC||4,489,000||1,211,000||TBD|
|Feb. 6 | GOP||ABC||13,181,000||3,384,000||1,300,000|
|Feb. 11 | Dem||PBS (with CNN simulcast)||8,030,000||2,300,000||TBD|
|Feb. 13 | GOP||CBS||TBD||TBD||TBD|
|Feb. 25 | GOP||CNN||TBD||TBD||TBD|
|Mar. 3 | GOP||Fox News||TBD||TBD||TBD|
|Mar. 6 | Dem||CNN||TBD||TBD||TBD|
|Mar. 9 | Dem||Univision||TBD||TBD||TBD|
**Users needed to be an authenticated viewer to watch the livestream.
***ABC & CNBC have not shared their livestream data.