CNN’s Democrat primary debates Tuesday and Wednesday night attracted just 8.7 million and 10.7 million viewers respectively – numbers that pale in comparison to June’s Democrat primary debates hosted by NBC.
The first night’s debate – which featured candidates such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and author Marianne Williamson (D) – drew just 8.7 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research data. However, CNN says the final number looked more like 9.2 million viewers after combining the network’s digital streaming services.
Even with CNN’s streaming services considered, the numbers still pale in comparison to the first night of the Democrat debates hosted by NBC in June, with the first debate attracting over 15 million viewers.
Despite that, Tuesday’s debate managed to garner slightly more than the popular Tuesday night shows America’s Got Talent, which garnered 7.9 viewers, and Hannah Brown’s season finale of The Bachelorette, which averaged 7.4 million, according to CNN.
Wednesday night’s debate – featuring Democrat frontrunner Joe Biden (D) and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) – attracted 10.7 million viewers and “an additional 576,000 viewers” via live-streaming, according to the Hollywood Reporter. By contrast, NBC’s second debate June 27 attracted 18.1 million viewers.
To this day, then-candidate Donald Trump’s first presidential debate with Hillary Clinton was the most-watched debate in history, with an estimated 84 million tuning in.
Trump managed to pique interest during the Republican primary as well, attracting millions to the 2015 debates. The Republican primary debate hosted by CNN in 2015 drew in 23 million viewers, just one million short of Fox News’s 24 million the month prior.