What Happens to Cable News Channels After the Debates?

By Chris Ariens 

The second GOP debate of the 2016 presidential cycle drew almost as many viewers as the first. In fact, the two debates are now in the Top 10 of most-watched cable shows ever. The other eight programs are college football games on ESPN.

But what happens the day after the debate? For starters, A LOT of post debate coverage. But are the viewers there? Here’s a breakdown of viewership on Fox News and CNN on the days after the debates.

On the night of the first debate August 6, Fox News averaged 19.23 million total viewers in prime time (8-11 p.m. ET) and 6.190 million in the A25-54 demo. On the following night, Friday, Aug. 7, Fox News averaged 2.5 million total viewers and 431,000 in the demo, a loss of -87 percent in viewers and -93 percent in the demo.

On CNN, the viewership drop was even more severe. On Thursday of this week, CNN was down -97 percent in both total viewers and the demo from debate night Wednesday: from 22.680 million total viewers in prime time on Wednesday to 764,000 on Thursday.