Ratings Update: GOP Debate on CBS Edges Last Week’s as Highest of 2016

Saturday’s contentious GOP debate from South Carolina has drawn another impressive audience, edging last week’s event on ABC to become the most-watched of the seven Republican and Democratic debates so far this year.

According to Nielsen national estimates, the last Republican debate before the key South Carolina primary averaged 13.51 million viewers and a 3.0 rating in adults 25-54 from 9 to 11 p.m. ET —the best numbers for any debate since CNN’s Republican debate on Dec. 15 (18.16 million viewers and a 4.8 in the demo). Viewership peaked between 10 and 10:30 p.m. ET with 14.63 million viewers.

Last Saturday’s GOP debate on ABC averaged 13.335 million viewers from 8 to 11 p.m. ET, the network’s largest non-sports Saturday night audience in more than 14 years, and a 2.9 in the demo.

See More: Live Blog: Donald Trump Faces GOP Rivals in CBS News Debate

CBSN, the digital streaming news service of CBS News, capped its most-watched week ever on Saturday with 5.1 million streams across platforms. During its coverage of the debate, CBSN drew more than 2 million streams across platforms. Viewers spent more than 41 minutes each on average watching CBSN across devices on Saturday, an increase of 23% from the CBS News Democratic debate on Nov. 14 (also a Saturday), which averaged 8.55 million total viewers on television.

The previous Republican primary debates this year averaged 11.09 million viewers on Fox Business Network (Jan. 14), 12.47 million on Fox News Channel (Jan. 28) and 13.34 million on ABC last Saturday. On the Democratic side, the highest for three debates this year was 10.16 million on NBC in January; last Thursday’s Democratic gathering did a combined 8.03 million viewers on PBS.

Also last night, NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” averaged a 4.4 overnight household rating and a 2.3 in adults 18-49 for its episode featuring Melissa McCarthy as host and Kanye West as musical guest. Despite what would seem to be a strong lineup, the result was down from the previous week when Larry David hosted and Bernie Sanders appeared in a cameo (5.1 in households, 2.4 in 18-49).

More TV

  • Bhad Bhabie

    Bhad Bhabie: From 'Cash Me Outside' to Cashing In on a Legit Rap Career

    Saturday’s contentious GOP debate from South Carolina has drawn another impressive audience, edging last week’s event on ABC to become the most-watched of the seven Republican and Democratic debates so far this year. According to Nielsen national estimates, the last Republican debate before the key South Carolina primary averaged 13.51 million viewers and a 3.0 rating […]

  • AMERICAN IDOL - "117 (Top 5)"

    'American Idol' Finale: Three Finalists Will Perform Johnny Cash, Fleetwood Mac, Journey Hits

    Saturday’s contentious GOP debate from South Carolina has drawn another impressive audience, edging last week’s event on ABC to become the most-watched of the seven Republican and Democratic debates so far this year. According to Nielsen national estimates, the last Republican debate before the key South Carolina primary averaged 13.51 million viewers and a 3.0 rating […]

  • Nicki Minaj Stars in Awesome Unaired

    Nicki Minaj Drops Fiery Verse in Awesome Unaired ‘Saturday Night Live’ Parody of Haim

    Saturday’s contentious GOP debate from South Carolina has drawn another impressive audience, edging last week’s event on ABC to become the most-watched of the seven Republican and Democratic debates so far this year. According to Nielsen national estimates, the last Republican debate before the key South Carolina primary averaged 13.51 million viewers and a 3.0 rating […]

  • Rachael Taylor, Krysten Ritter, Janet McTeer

    'Jessica Jones' Team on Genre Show's Timeliness, Being Ahead of the Curve on #MeToo

    Saturday’s contentious GOP debate from South Carolina has drawn another impressive audience, edging last week’s event on ABC to become the most-watched of the seven Republican and Democratic debates so far this year. According to Nielsen national estimates, the last Republican debate before the key South Carolina primary averaged 13.51 million viewers and a 3.0 rating […]

  • Daniel Palladino, Rachel Brosnahan, Marin Hinkle,

    'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' Renewed for Season Three by Amazon (EXCLUSIVE)

    Saturday’s contentious GOP debate from South Carolina has drawn another impressive audience, edging last week’s event on ABC to become the most-watched of the seven Republican and Democratic debates so far this year. According to Nielsen national estimates, the last Republican debate before the key South Carolina primary averaged 13.51 million viewers and a 3.0 rating […]

  • 'SNL' Finale: Tina Fey Reprises Sarah

    'Saturday Night Live' Finale: Tina Fey Reprises Sarah Palin Role (Watch)

    Saturday’s contentious GOP debate from South Carolina has drawn another impressive audience, edging last week’s event on ABC to become the most-watched of the seven Republican and Democratic debates so far this year. According to Nielsen national estimates, the last Republican debate before the key South Carolina primary averaged 13.51 million viewers and a 3.0 rating […]

  • SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- "Tina Fey"

    'Saturday Night Live' Parodies the Royal Wedding Reception (Watch)

    Saturday’s contentious GOP debate from South Carolina has drawn another impressive audience, edging last week’s event on ABC to become the most-watched of the seven Republican and Democratic debates so far this year. According to Nielsen national estimates, the last Republican debate before the key South Carolina primary averaged 13.51 million viewers and a 3.0 rating […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content