Last night’s Republican presidential debate on CBS wasn’t only the angriest debate of the season, but the most-watched of the year, drawing 13.51 Million viewers. Kicking off only hours after news spread of the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, CBS’s presentation of the GOP’s final go-round prior to the important South Carolina primary was also the year’s highest-rated debate in adults 25-54 (3.0), according to Nielsen time adjusted live plus same day fast nationals.
The debate was Saturday’s top primetime broadcast, reaching its peak audience between 10:00-10:30 PM, ET, with 14.63m viewers. CBSN, the digital streaming service for CBS News, drew more than 2 Million streams during the debate, which was broadcast live from the Peace Center in Greenville, S.C. CBS News’ John Dickerson was the principal moderator, aided by Chief White House Correspondent Major Garrett and The Wall Street Journal’s Kimberley Strassel.
The debate was marked by angry outbursts — angrier than usual, even — by Donald Trump, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, with Dr. Ben Carson and Ohio Gov. John Kasich relatively subdued.