8:31am PT by Michael O'Connell
TV Ratings: NBC's Clinton-Trump Forum With Matt Lauer Tops Wednesday, Lands 15 Million Viewers
NBC topped Tuesday with its Commander-in-Chief Forum.
A primer for the upcoming presidential debates, both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump sat down (individually) with Matt Lauer. The hour, which has prompted heavy criticism for the Today host's performance, was a ratings victory. Fast National returns from Nielsen reported a combined 14.7 million viewers for the NBC-MSNBC simulcast, making it the most watched Big Four telecast of the night. It was also nearly the top-rated, averaging just shy of America's Got Talent, with a combined 2.4 rating among adults 18-49.
Obvious interest in the forum, which was not heavily promoted, bodes especially well for the upcoming debates. The prime Wednesday spot also outperformed all previous broadcast primary debates from the recent cycle.
Talent helped secure a nightly win for NBC, averaging a 1.9 rating among adults 18-49 before a steady Running Wild With Bear Grylls (1.2 adults).
CBS brought three hours of original programming with a steady Big Brother and two outings of American Gothic. The latter averaged a 0.6 and 0.5 rating among adults 18-49.
Fox aired two episodes of MasterChef, with a 1.3 and a 1.4 rating among adults 18-49.