To paraphrase Megyn Kelly, let’s talk about the elephant not on the Big 4: the GOP debate that ran on Fox News last night. While a boycotting Donald Trump ended up not being there after all, it looks like the Kelly co-moderated Republican gathering escaped hitting a ratings low. With an 8.4 result in metered market ratings, last night’s debate from 9-11 PM ET was up 14% from the low of sixth GOP debate held on Fox Business Network on January 15. That debate went on to see a total viewership of 11 million, the worst any GOP debate has done this election cycle. Early estimates have last night looking slightly better, in the 12 million range.
With Fox News likely avoiding the Trumpocalypse, the rest of the night was pretty much purgatory for the nets and the CW. The 8 PM debut of NBC’s end-of-the-world comedy miniseries You, Me And The Apocalypse (1.2/4) didn’t exactly set the world on fire, as it fell right in the middle of its slot. Up 20% from last week’s sputtering Heroes Reborn finale, the Rob Lowe-starrer also topped the February 12, 2015 debut of miniseries The Slap by 9% among adults 18-49. A debut that is even a bit more impressive when you consider that Apocalypse had very little promo, especially compared to the blanketing that HR enjoyed.
While beating Week 2 of the CW’s DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow (1.1/3), which was down a tenth from its premiere, and ABC’s Beyond The Tank (1.1/3), which was up a tenth, Apocalypse was far behind a steady American Idol (2.3/4) and a repeat of The Big Bang Theory (2.0/7). With 9.62 million viewers the most watched show of the night, CBS’ powerhouse comedy dipped 9% in the demo from its January 21 episode – also an encore. In what might be a good sign for its news network cousin, Fox won the night in the demo and in total viewership with 8.77 million watching.
The rest of NBC’s night saw The Blacklist (1.6/5) even with last week and Shades Of Blue (1.3/4) decline 7% in the demo to match the low of its January 14 episode. CBS’ only originals of the night were Angel From Hell (1.4/4) and Elementary (1.1/4), both of which were even with last week. Legends lead-out The 100 (0.6/2) was down 14% from its Season 3 premiere last week for the CW.
Going directly head-to-head with the GOP debate, the two-hour season finale of ABC’s My Diet Is Better Than Yours (0.7/2) was actually up 17% from last week, matching a high for the four-week reality show.