CNN and Univision combined to draw nearly 6 million viewers for the latest Democratic debate on Wednesday, a night that also saw Fox News Channel and MSNBC serve up Republican presidential candidates via town hall and individual interviews.
According to preliminary Nielsen estimates, an average audience of 3.942 million viewers watched the debate on CNN from 9-11 p.m. ET and another 2.006 tuned in to the Spanish-language telecast on Univision. While still a sizable audience, the CNN tune-in was the smallest this election cycle for an English-language telecast of a Democratic or Republican debate. The previous low was 4.47 million for a Democratic debate on MSNBC in February.
Fatigue certainly may be a factor, as Wednesday’s debate was the second in four nights for Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. A CNN debate from Flint, Michigan last Sunday drew 5.51 million viewers.
CNN ranked No. 1 in cable news in primetime last night, averaging 3.151 million viewers, followed by Fox News (2.852 million) and MSNBC (791,000). And in the key news demo of adults 25-54, the Turner network (1.056 million) beat the combined totals of Fox News (589,000) and MSNBC (212,000).
CNN beat Fox News’ candidate interviews during both the 9 and 10 p.m. hours. At 9 p.m., CNN had 3.891 million (including 1.303 million adults 25-54) while FNC’s interview with Marco Rubio drew 2.434 million viewers, including 496,000 adults 25-54. And at 10 p.m., CNN’s 3.994 million total viewers/1.384 adults 25-54 outdrew an interview with Donald Trump on Fox News (2.618 million/660,000 adults 25-54).
At 8 p.m., MSNBC’s Town Hall with Marco Rubio averaged 1.568 million viewers and 190,000 adults 25-54, placing third among the cable news networks.
Wednesday’s Democratic debate from Miami, sponsored by Univision and simulcast on CNN, was moderated by Jorge Ramos and Maria Elena Salinas of Univision and Karen Tumulty of The Washington Post. CNN will next host a GOP candidates debate tonight, moderated by Jake Tapper.