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NewsNation and the CW drew more than four million average total viewers in Wednesday’s simulcast Republican presidential primary debate, according to Nielsen figures.
Individually, NewsNation scored 1.6 million total viewers and 350,000 viewers in the 25-54 adult demographic. The program marked the highest audience for NewsNation in its history.
The CW drew 2.5 million total average viewers and 500,000 viewers among adults 25-54.
NewsNation hosted the fourth Republican presidential primary debate at the University of Alabama on Dec. 6. The debate was moderated by Megyn Kelly, NewsNation anchor Elizabeth Vargas and editor-in-chief of The Washington Free Beacon Eliana Johnson. The debate aired on Nexstar Media Group’s national cable news network, NewsNation, and was simulcast on The CW. The event was also livestreamed on NewsNation’s website and on Rumble.
“NewsNation was incredibly honored to host last night’s debate, and we are very pleased that so many viewers tuned in and watched,” President of Networks for Nexstar Media Sean Compton said. “This debate represents a remarkable achievement for a cable news network that is just barely three years old. We’re very proud of the NewsNation team, the great job done by the moderators, and the overall production. In the end, the real winners last night were the nation’s voters.”
According to the network, early digital results show nearly 400,000 users live-streamed some portion of the debate via the NewsNation website or mobile app.
This, however, also marks the lowest-rated debate of the election cycle thus far.
The first debate of the cycle, hosted by Fox News in August, brought in 12.8 million total viewers. The viewership for the first debate significantly surpassed expectations for the network, nabbing 2.82 million viewers in the 25-54 demographic. NewsNation’s debate was a 68% drop in total viewers from the first debate of this year.
The second Republican debate hosted by Fox Business Network drew in 9.5 million viewers across Fox News, Fox Business, and Univision. The event drew in 2 million viewers in the key cable demographic among adults 25-54.
NBC hosted the third debate in November, which drew 7.51 million average total viewers across linear television, digital, and streaming.
On Thursday, CNN announced its plans to host two additional GOP primary debates in 2024. The first CNN debate will be held on Jan. 10, at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, less than a week before the Iowa caucus. The second debate is set for Jan. 21, at St. Anselm College in Goffstown, New Hampshire.
This is the first time during this election cycle that CNN is hosting a GOP primary debate.
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