CNN’s telecast of the seventh Democratic presidential debate on Tuesday night in Des Moines, Iowa, drew 7.3 million viewers, according to early numbers from Nielsen Media Research.
That is an increase from the 6.2 million who watched the PBS-Politico debate broadcast in mid-December and the 6.5 million who watched the MSNBC debate the previous month.
The first Democratic debate, held in late June, drew by far the most viewers of the 2020 cycle, with 18.1 million tuning in across NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo.
In the key 25-54 demographic that advertisers covet most, Tuesday night’s debate drew 2.1 million viewers.
The more than two-hour long debate featured six candidates: former Vice President Joe Biden; Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.); businessman Tom Steyer (D); and former South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D).
During the time period the debate ran starting at 9 p.m. ET and ending at 11:15 p.m., Fox
News delivered 3.1 million total viewers and MSNBC drew a total of 1.7 million.
Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight” was the highest-rated non-debate program of the evening, registering 3.3 million total viewers.
The debate, the last before the Iowa caucuses on Feb. 3, was moderated by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and Abby Phillip as well as Des Moines Register chief political correspondent Brianne Pfannenstiel.