Fox News felt the absence of Donald Trump during its Republican Debate telecast last night but still drew a strong 12.5 million viewers, according to early Nielsen figures.
The debate from Des Monies, Iowa is the second-most watched telecast in the network’s history, but the debate was the second-lowest audience for the seven Republican Debates since August. Trump, who skipped the debate after a dust-up with Fox News over debate moderator Megyn Kelly, instead hosted a event dedicated to military veterans, portions of which were aired by CNN and MSNBC.
CNN averaged 1.7 million viewers during the 9 to 11 p.m. hour while MSNBC drew a little over 1 million viewers, according to Nielsen.
The debate drew 3.5 million adult 25-54 demo as was the most watched show last night on either broadcast or cable television.
The earlier debate moderated by FNC’s Bill Hemmer and Martha MacCallum averaged 4.5 million in total viewers and 882K in the key demo.
Viewership For Republican Debates
Aug. 6 Fox News – 24 million
Sept. 17 CNN – 22.9 million
Dec. 15 CNN – 18 million
Oct. 28 CNBC – 14 million
Nov. 10 Fox Business Channel – 13.5 million
Jan. 28 Fox News – 12.5 million
Jan. 14 Fox Business Channel – 11 million