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TV Ratings: NewsNation Sets Record With Republican Debate

NewsNation brought in the largest audience of its two-and-a-half-year existence Wednesday night with its telecast of a Republican presidential primary debate.

The cable outlet drew 1.59 million viewers for the debate, which featured candidates Chris Christie, Ron DeSantis, Nikki Haley and Vivek Ramaswamy. A simulcast on The CW (which, like NewsNation, is owned by Nexstar) brought in 2.62 million people, for a total of 4.21 million viewers, according to Nielsen.

The 1.59 million viewers for NewsNation is more than 10 times its typical primetime tune-in; in November, the channel’s highest-rated primetime show — Cuomo, anchored by former CNN host Chris Cuomo — averaged 149,000 viewers. The debate also set a new high for NewsNation in the key news demographic of adults 25-54, 350,000 of whom watched Wednesday’s telecast.

On The CW, the 2.62 million viewers for the debate was the largest same-day audience for the network in nearly six years — since an episode of The Flash in January 2018.

Despite the highs for NewsNation and The CW, the debate goes down as the least watched of this primary cycle. It’s down from 7.5 million viewers on NBC, Peacock and other digital platforms for the previous debate on Nov. 9. It’s also not the most watched televised debate of the past week: A face-off between DeSantis and California Gov. Gavin Newsom drew 4.75 million viewers Nov. 30 on Fox News.

Wednesday’s telecast did, however, beat a town hall with Republican frontrunner Donald Trump (who hasn’t taken part in any debates) on Fox News on Tuesday. That telecast averaged 3.16 million viewers.

Dec. 7, 1: 18 p.m. Updated with final ratings figures for The CW.

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