Turns out there is a point at which America hits political overload. Specifically, it looks like that was 9 PM ET last night, when the fifth debate among the 10 leading Democrats hoping to replace Donald Trump in the White House hit the stage in Atlanta.
Snaring a total viewership of 6.5 million and 1.7 million in the key news demographic of adults 25-54, last night’s debate on MSNBC was the least watched and lowest rated this election season, according to Nielsen.
With one or two high-flying exceptions and a great nod to Nancy Pelosi from Sen. Amy Klobuchar, the lack of memorable moments or real fireworks among the contenders perhaps caused the nation’s interest to wane. Perhaps it is the fact that the shindig co-hosted by MSNBC and Washington Post at Tyler Perry Studios saw the usual suspects of Klobuchar, Sen. Corey Booker, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, ex-VP Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Kamala Harris, businessmen Andrew Yang and Tom Steyer, and Iowa poll-leading South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg back again with a lot of the same old same old to say.
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Or perhaps it was that after a long long fourth day of public impeachment hearings in the nation’s capital with potentially damning star witness U.S. Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland, it was clear the real news wasn’t coming out of the primetime debate. Whatever the reason for America switching off, last night’s just more than two-hour debate had excellent moderators in MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, Andrea Mitchell and Kristen Welker and WaPo’s Ashley Parker, but they couldn’t save a tepid performance from the politicians.
Last night’s 9-11:15 PM ET gathering was down 29% in overall audience from the previous low of the last debate, which CNN aired on October 15. Actually, MSNBC even dropped about 180,000 viewers from its results in the highest-rated debate and the last time the cable newser broadcast the Dems. The second night of the two-part first debate, that June 27 event was shown on NBC and Telemundo as well and garnered 18.1 million sets of eyeballs – a historic high for Democratic debates.
Now, last night’s debate was also livestreamed on NBC News and MSNBC digital platforms, the Post‘s web and mobile apps and Urban One’s digital platforms too, so we might see some stragglers in the numbers later on. However, if past debate digital performances are anything to go by, it won’t be much of a bump.
It goes without saying, but as our ratings-obsessed POTUS may bring it up anyway, Wednesday night’s number is way down from the all-time debate high of 24 million when Trump and his fellow Republicans had their first debate in 2015.
Next up, PSB will be hosting the Democrats in the City of Angels on December 19 – maybe the ratings Santa will bring some much needed presents early.
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