×

Ratings: Democratic Debate on CBS Draws 8.6 Million Viewers Saturday Night

Viewer interest in the primary debates of both parties remains higher than previous years, with the second Democratic get-together of 2015 drawing a good-for-Saturday 8.55 million viewers on CBS, according to Nielsen estimates. The first debate of the year to air on a broadcast network drew more than double what CBS typically draws on Saturday nights.

The 8.55 million makes Saturday’s debate from Des Moines, Iowa, the lowest-rated of the six debates in recent months — and well below the 15.8 million who watched the year’s first Democratic debate of the year on CNN last month — but this was the first one to be held on a Saturday, when viewing levels are at their lowest of the week. Four years ago on the second Saturday of November, a Republican primary debate on CBS averaged 5.48 million viewers, and a mid-November Democratic debate on CNN in 2007 drew a little over 4 million.

See More: Democratic Debate: 5 Memorable Moments as Candidates Address ISIS Attacks

This fall, CBS has averaged about 4.2 million viewers for its regular crime-series programming on Saturday nights. Demographic breakdowns weren’t available, but the debate figures to draw in the vicinity of a 1.8 rating in adults 18-49 and a 2.0 in adults 25-54 when final nationals are released by Nielsen on Tuesday.

In addition to the 8.55 million viewers from 9-11 p.m. ET, CBSN set viewership records for its debate coverage, drawing 1.2 million streams across connected TV devices, mobile and online platforms. CBSN also set full-day viewership records with 2.4 million total streams on Saturday.

Driven in large part by the controversy regarding Donald Trump’s first bid to become president, this year’s GOP debates have been especially big draws. Fox News Channel broke all primary debate and non-sports cable records when 24 million tuned in for the first debate in August, and it was followed by debates on CNN on Sept. 16 (23.1 million), on CNBC on Oct. 28 (14 million) and Fox Business Network last week (13.5 million).

Last night’s debate, featuring Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley, was moderated by John Dickerson of “Face the Nation.” CBS News decided late Friday night to shift gears in its questions for the debate, opting for more of a focus on national security and foreign policy in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris.

Also of note on the ratings front last night, “Saturday Night Live” with host Elizabeth Banks, averaged a 4.0 household rating/10 share in the overnights and a 1.9 rating/9 share in adults 18-49, based on Nielsen’s 25 markets with Local People Meters. It was well down as expected from the overnights for last week’s episode with Donald Trump as host (6.6/16 in households, 2.7/13 in 18-49) and was more in line with the season’s second episode of the season, featuring Amy Schumer as host (3.9/10 in households, 1.9/9 in 18-49). The show opened with a brief tribute to the city of Paris, issued by Cecily Strong.

 

More TV

  • Dan Lin's Rideback, MRC Announce Writers

    Dan Lin's Rideback, MRC Announce First Class of Writers and Mentors for TV Incubator

    Rideback, Dan Lin’s production company, and MRC have announced the inaugural class of writers and mentors for their TV incubator.  The new TV writers residency program, which was launched in February, offers a paid, eight-month residency program to a group of writers who have each previously been staffed on series and want to create their [...]

  • CBS Viacom

    CBS and Viacom Move Closer to Merger Talks

    The CBS Corp. board of directors is moving closer to initiating acquisition discussions with Viacom, according to multiple sources close to the situation. The move has been expected for months, although there may still be obstacles on the road to a reunion for the two sides of the Redstone media empire. Price could still be [...]

  • Santa Fe Studios Netflix

    Santa Fe Studios Competes With Other New Mexico Stages for Streaming Business

    Albuquerque Studios entered the spotlight last October when it was purchased by Netflix. While the complex is clearly the jewel in the crown of New Mexico’s production infrastructure, with eight soundstages totaling 132,000 square feet, 100,000 square feet of production offices, a large backlot and support space, it’s not the only modern studio facility in [...]

  • Wahlburgers

    'Wahlburgers' Renewed for 10th and Final Season at A&E

    A&E has renewed “Wahlburgers” for a 10th and final season. The reality series following brothers Mark, Donnie and Paul Wahlberg will debut the new installment at on May 15. A&E has also released a trailer for the season. Season 10 will continue to focus on the Wahlberg brothers as they balance family and their eponymous [...]

  • Game of Thrones Season 8

    From 'Game of Thrones' to 'Big Bang Theory,' Spinoffs Will Keep the Hits Alive

    By this time next year, many of the brightest lights in the current TV universe will cease to shine. Some of the most popular and acclaimed shows are set to air their swan songs this year and during the 2019-20 broadcast season. While programs come and go all the time, the sheer number of iconic [...]

  • Jussie Smollett Empire

    TV Ratings: Jussie Smollett's Final Episode of 'Empire' Season 5 Goes Low

    Last night, Jussie Smollett’s final episode of “Empire” season 5, and potentially his last episode on the show ever, went up in the ratings from previous weeks, but still posted low figures for the series. The episode, in which Smollett’s character Jamal Lyon tied the knot in TV’s first-ever black, gay wedding, returned a 1.1 [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content