Democracy 24: Fox News Republican Primary Debate had more than a few lookie-loos.
The first debate between Republican presidential hopefuls — well, all but one of ’em — averaged 13 million viewers across Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, Fox Nation and Fox News Digital on Wednesday night, outdrawing “more than 70% of all presidential primary debates in the last two cycles (2016 and 2020),” Fox News Media reports via Nielsen.
More from TVLine
Among the “recent” debates not trumped by Wednesday night’s eight-candidate face-off, the two-night first Democratic debate of the 2020 presidential election cycle averaged 16.7 million total viewers for NBC/ MSNBC/Telemundo in June 2019 (not including live streaming).
That said, Democracy 24: Fox News Republican Primary Debate drew a larger audience than Fox News’ previous debate in Iowa circa January 2016, which averaged 12.5 million viewers.
Fox News proper’s share of the debate audience (11.1 million) marks the most-watched non-sports cable telecast of 2023, besting Paramount’s Yellowstone (which on Jan. 1 drew 8.2 million). And the 2.4 million viewers in cable news’ 25-54 target demo topped everything that aired on cable TV Wednesday night.
In a poll of TVLine readers (below), Nikki Haley did best among the debaters, earning 30% of your vote. She was followed by Chris Christie (23%), Vivek Ramaswamy (20%) and Ron DeSantis (12%).