The Democratic debate last night from Flint, MI, in which Bernie Sanders suggested a certain GOP candidate is several sandwiches short of a picnic, clocked 5.5 million viewers on CNN last night. Among adults 25-54, aka the news demo, 1.8M watched the debate moderated by Anderson Cooper.
That’s a pretty steep drop from the most recent Dem debate, February 11 on PBS, which logged 8M viewers.
But, the CNN debate was ratings rocket-fuel for the launch of CNN’s Keven Spacey narrated six-part docuseries Race For The White House, which debuted to 2.564M total viewers, including 885K in the news demo. That’s the best CNN Original Series premiere ever. In fact, it was the highest-rated CNN Original Series telecast ever.
Last night’s debate edged out the February Dem debate, on MSNBC, which is the lowest-rated to date, having logged 4.5M viewers. Democratic debates have tended to draw smaller crowds than have GOP debates because, well, Donald Trump. That said, the last time CNN hosted a Dem debate, which was the Dem fracas of the election cycle, back in October 2015, a whopping 16M people tuned in.
CNN’s Democratic debate last night, unlike Fox News Channel’s GOP fracas days earlier, was shockingly lacking in body-part boasts. And at no point did either Hillary Clinton or Sanders assume that John Kasich-esque look of having been drawn into the hostilities against his will.
CNN had a better political-coverage ratings story one day earlier, when it led cable news networks’ coverage of Super Saturday primary and caucuses in the news demo. In primetime, CNN’s 644,000 news-demo viewers topped Fox News’ 567K and MSNBC’s 249K. Meanwhile, in total viewers (which catches all those potential voters older than 54 and younger than 25), FNC copped 2.7M viewers, outstripping CNN’s 1.8M and MSNBC’s 1.1M.