Democrat Debate Draws 5.4 Million on CNN

A combined 5.57 million total viewers watched the Democratic debate on CNN and local cable news net NY1 Thursday, according to Nielsen, as Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders battled over banking regulations, tax returns, New York values and other hot topics. Nearly 1.8 million viewers 25-54 tuned in.

The debate was live from the Brooklyn Navy Yard in New York and moderated by CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer. Questioners included CNN chief political correspondent Dana Bash and NY1 host (and CNN commentator) Errol Louis.

Both debaters showed a bit more fight than in previous forums. And both have significant ties to the Empire State, Sanders born and raised in Brooklyn and Clinton settling in Westchester County, just north of New York City, after President Bill Clinton’s final term.

Nearly 5.4 million watched on CNN, while 171,000 viewed the action on NY1, a Time Warner Cable channel in New York City. Among adults 25-54, CNN registered 1.709 million viewers and NY1 had 89,000.

Debates have been driving ratings for cable news. Close to 12 million viewers watched the GOP primary debate on CNN March 10, a week after 16.9 million watched the GOP leaders on Fox News Channel.

Fox News Channel’s Democratic Town Hall delivered 2.6 million viewers in the 6 p.m. hour March 7, including 473,000 in the key demo.

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.