TV Ratings: Third Republican Debate Slumps

The TV audience for the third Republican presidential primary debate fell off considerably on Wednesday. The CMA Awards also narrowly avoided posting its smallest viewer tally ever.

The Republican debate aired on NBC (but not cable siblings MSNBC or CNBC) and drew 7.5 million viewers on the network, Peacock and other streaming and digital platforms. That’s down from 9.5 million for the second debate on Fox News, Fox Business and Univision on Sept. 27. NBC did slightly outdraw the total for just Fox News (6.86 million viewers to 6.69 million) from the last debate; streaming and digital platforms accounted for the remaining 640,000 viewers.

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The September event, in turn, fell off from 13 million viewers for the first debate of the cycle, also on Fox News and Fox Business. An hour of analysis after the debate averaged 3.2 million viewers.

On ABC, the CMA Awards averaged 6.84 million viewers, down about 10 percent from 7.57 million a year ago and just ahead of the telecast’s all-time low of 6.83 million in 2021. The show’s rating among adults 18-49, however, did hit a low of 0.9 (about 1.16 million people in that age range), falling below a 1.0 for the first time.

Despite the relatively low viewership for their respective programs, ABC and NBC were well above their usual numbers for Wednesdays this season. CBS’ Survivor (4.53 million viewers) and Fox’s The Masked Singer (3.15 million) both declined some week to week and against their same-day averages for the season, while The Amazing Race (2.62 million) held steady on CBS later in the night.

Nov. 9, 2:40 p.m. Updated with streaming and digital viewership totals.

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