CNN was No. 1 in cable news among adults 25-54 during the first presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, with 4.43 million viewers in the news demographic. CNN tallied 26% more news-demo viewers than Fox News’ 3.53 million, which was up 20% compared with the first general election presidential debate in the 2012 cycle. CNN’s news-demo tally turned up 181% more viewers than MSNBC’s 1.58 million.
FNC bagged the biggest overall audience for the debate, 11.36M viewers – marking the channel’s second-highest-rated general election presidential debate in history in viewers. The record-holder remains the final presidential debate in 2012 between President Obama and Mitt Romney, which logged 11.5M.
Meanwhile, CNN’s 9.81M total viewers for last night’s Trump-Clinton debate is a record for that network. MSNBC logged 4.9M.
For comparison sake: In 2012, FNC averaged 11.4M total viewers and 2.94M news-demo viewers. CNN had 6.05M total viewers, and 2.37M among adults 25-54. MSNBC clocked 4.73M viewers and 1.86M news-demo viewers.
Adding to Fox News and NBU’s tally: FBN’s coverage of the debate clocked 673K total viewers and 142K news-demo viewers, edging out CNBC’s 9-10:45 PM 521K total viewers and 230K news-demo viewers.