CNN’s viewing on Thursday night dropped 30% to 11.85 million Nielsen viewers from the Fox News debate, which took in 16.9 million viewers on March 3. This latest debate registered 3.7 million key TV news 25-54 viewers -- 33% less than the last Fox News program.
Twelve Republican presidential debates have been aired since last August. Thursday’s contest was the second-worst-performing GOP debate.
The poorest-performing Republican debate was on January 14 on the Fox Business Network, with 11.1 million viewers. Fox News Channel aired the first contest -- which registered the best TV ratings of any debate, Republican or Democratic -- scoring some 24 million viewers.
The Nielsen Twitter TV Ratings say that 7.8 million people in the U.S. saw one or more of 1.7 million tweets about the “CNN Republican Debate.” This is down from 8.7 million people and 2.3 million tweets for the Fox News Republican Debate a week before.
In 2016, the Republican debates averaged about 13 million viewers for seven debates -- nearly double what the Democrats averaged, at 6.82 million for five events.
On Thursday night -- looking at the three major cable TV news networks CNN, Fox News and MSNBC that covered the debate during early fringe, prime time, and late-fringe time period -- national TV advertisers spent $6.1 million for that programming, according to iSpot.tv.
For the most recent Fox News GOP debate, some $6.7 million in national TV advertising was spent on the three cable TV news networks on early-fringe, prime time, and late-fringe dayparts, according to iSpot.tv.