Democratic debate overnight ratings hit lowest of year

The debate was held at Tyler Perry Studios

Originally posted Thursday, November 21, 2019 by RODNEY HO/ on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

The overnight ratings last night for the MSNBC/Washington Post Democratic debate indicate a sign of fatigue. 

About 6.6 million people tuned in, based on Nielsen overnight figures. 

That’s down about 20 percent from the CNN-sponsored debate last month (8.3 million.)

The second night of the first debate in June drew 18.1 million viewers, the most this cycle so far. 

Last night’s debate was held at Atlanta’s Tyler Perry Studios and featured 10 of the Democratic candidates. The debate may have been overshadowed to a degree by the impeachment hearings held earlier in the day. 

It’s also common for debate ratings to fall over time as people become familiar with the candidates and their talking points. The fifth debate of the 2016 Democratic campaign drew 4.5 million viewers, down from a peak of 15 million from the first. 

The overnight numbers do not include video streams, which numbered 1.3 million. And others watched on the Washington Post website or listened on the SiriusXM MSNBC simulcast. 

The next debate will be held by PBS  and Politico in Los Angeles next month on December 19 and will be simulcast on CNN. The requirements to qualify keep getting tougher so the number of candidates will likely shrink from the 10 that were on stage last night. 

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About the Author

Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.