Bernie Sanders-Ted Cruz Debate Gives CNN a Tuesday Night Victory

By A.J. Katz 

If you thought televised debates were over for a few years, then you forgot: THIS is CNN.

The cable news network presented its fourth prime time town hall of 2017, but this one was a debate featuring two U.S. senators from opposite sides of the political spectrum: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).

CNN’s Jake Tapper and Dana Bash moderated the debate, which was a lengthy discussion about the future of healthcare in America.


The program, officially titled, CNN’s Debate Night. Sanders vs. Cruz: The Future of Obamacare ranked No. 1 in cable news last night among adults 25-54, per Nielsen data.

The town hall delivered 932,000 viewers from the news demo from 9 – 10:45 p.m. ET, 29 percent more than Fox News (720,000), and 124 percent more than MSNBC (417,000).

Fox News won the 9 – 10:45 p.m. time period in total viewers (3.4 million). CNN drew 2.5 million viewers for the debate.

CNN also won the entirety of the prime time daypart (8 – 11 p.m.) last night in the demo, posting 782,000 viewers. Fox News averaged 732,000, while MSNBC trailed with 385,000.

Here’s a list of the network’s prime time town hall programs to air so far in 2017.

  • Mon, Jan. 9 – Bernie Sanders Town Hall: 1.366M / 414,000
  • Thurs, Jan. 12 – Paul Ryan Town Hall: 1.514M / 571,000
  • Tues, Jan. 31 – Nancy Pelosi Town Hall: 1.700M / 577,000
  • Tues, Feb. 7 – Bernie Sanders-Ted Cruz debate: 2.464M / 932,000