PBS, CNN Combine to Draw 8 Million Viewers for Democratic Debate

Thursday’s Democratic presidential primary debate drew about 8 million viewers for its simulcast on PBS and CNN, a sizable jump over the total for last week’s debate on MSNBC.

According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, roughly 3.9 million watched the PBS NewsHour’s Democratic Primary Debate on the pubcaster while an additional 4.1 million tuned in to CNN. The combined 8.03 million from 9-11 p.m. ET is on par with a Saturday night Democratic debate on ABC in December and is well above the 4.47 million who watched last Thursday’s debate on MSNBC, which was finalized only a week or so before the event.

In adults 25-54, last night’s debate drew 2.3 million (1.2 million on PBS and 1.1 million on CNN), nearly double the 1.2 million for last week’s MSNBC debate.

CNN ranked No. 1 in cable news in primetime on Thursday, averaging 3.12 million viewers, including 841,000 adults 25-54. Fox News Channel was second with 2.62 million viewers and 484,000 in the demo.

Last night was the first time that two networks teamed up to simulcast a debate. PBS’ Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff served as moderators.The next Democratic debate is set for March 6 on CNN. The Republican candidates’ next debate will be held Saturday night in South Carolina on CBS.

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