Last Night’s ABC-Univision Democratic Primary Debate Averaged 14 Million Viewers

By A.J. Katz 

Going up against NFL Network’s broadcast of Thursday Night Football didn’t seem to maim ratings performance for last night’s ABC-Univision’s Democratic primary debate.

Per early data from Nielsen, ABC and Univision combined to average 14.04 million total viewers and 4 million A25-54 demo viewers over the entire three-hour prime time period. 12.93 million watched on ABC, and 1.1 million watched on Univision.

Last night’s debate was moderated by ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, David Muir, and Linsey Davis, as well as Univision’s Jorge Ramos.

For ABC, this was the most-watched Thursday in nearly seven years, and the best 25-54 demo audience in more than 3 1/2 years.

For comparison purposes, night No. 1 of the first Democratic primary debate attracted 15.3 million viewers across three networks (NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo). Out of those 15.3 million TV viewers, 8.7 million watched on NBC, 5.9 million tuned into MSNBC, and 719,000 watched on Telemundo.

Night No. 2 of the first Democratic primary debate attracted 18.1 million total viewers watching across NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo. Out of those 18.1 million who watched, 10.6 million tuned into NBC, 6.7 million tuned into MSNBC, and 840,000 watched on Telemundo.

CNN’s debates on July 30 and 31 in Detroit averaged 8.2 million and 10.1 million in total viewers and 2.4 million and 2.8 million A25-54 respectively.

ABC was aided by the fact that this debate featured only the top 10 candidates on the same stage at the same time. The previous two debates on NBC and CNN aired over multiple nights and didn’t feature all of the top candidates on stage at the same time.

Fox News’ Republican primary debate in Cleveland in Aug. 2015 still ranks as the highest-rated primary debate with 24 million viewers and 7.9 million in the 25-54 demo and remains the most-watched non-sports cable telecast since Nielsen started measuring TV audiences in the mid-1980s,

That particular debate featured a certain outspoken celebrity businessman named Donald Trump.

Thursday, Sept. 12th

Network Total Viewers (000) A25-54 Viewers (000)
ABC 12,931 3,500
UNI 1,112 496
FNC 2,566 376
CNN 663 163
MSNBC 1,173 173