TV Ratings: 10th Democratic Debate Scores More Big Numbers

CBS' coverage of the face-off between the candidates easily tops the night in viewers, while NBC's 'This Is Us' and 'New Amsterdam' both improve.
JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images

The 10th debate among democratic presidential hopefuls gathered another big audience Tuesday night, as CBS' coverage had the evening's largest total audience by a wide margin. NBC's This Is Us and New Amsterdam improved week to week following a solid Tuesday debut for The Voice.

CBS News' debate coverage, which also aired on BET and BET Her averaged 15.34 million viewers. The broadcast network had the vast majority of that audience with 14.78 million viewers, while fellow ViacomCBS networks BET and BET Her brought in 556,000 more 

The 15.34 million viewers is the third largest for any Democratic debate in the 2020 primary cycle. It's behind last week's record-setting audience of 19.66 million viewers on NBC and MSNBC and the 18.1 million who tuned in to NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo for the second night of the first debate in June 2019. 

The broadcast also delivered a 3.4 rating (about 3.85 million people) in the key news demographic of adults 25-54 on CBS, with 210,000 more on the cable channels. CBS also posted a 2.5 rating in adults 18-49. Fast national figures (which aren't terribly accurate for live telecasts) had the debate at 13.02 million viewers and a 2.2 in the 18-49 demo. 

NBC was the clear leader among the other broadcast networks. The Voice posted a 1.4 rating among adults 18-49 — its best Tuesday showing since mid-October — and 8.57 million viewers, ahead of its fall same-day average of 8.13 million. (Monday's season premiere drew a 1.5 and 8.99 million viewers.) This Is Us (1.4 in 18-49, 6.98 million viewers) and New Amsterdam (0.7, 5.16 million) both ticked up in adults 18-49 and drew their biggest total audiences since their fall finales in November.

ABC's The Conners tied its season low in the 18-49 demographic with a 0.9. Bless This Mess (0.6), Mixed-ish (0.5) and Black-ish (0.5) all held steady, as did drama For Life (0.6). The latter has also put up solid delayed-viewing numbers for its first two episodes.

The season finale of 24 Hours to Hell and Back on Fox scored a 0.6 in adults 18-49, on par with its same-day average. The Flash (0.4) and Legends of Tomorrow (0.2) were steady on The CW.

CBS topped primetime among adults 18-49 with a 1.7 rating, pending updates for its live broadcast. NBC finished second with 1.2. ABC and Fox tied for third place with 0.6. Univision was next with 0.5, followed by Telemundo, 0.4, and The CW, 0.3.

Bookmark THR.com/Ratings for more ratings news and numbers.

Feb. 26, 2:25 p.m. Updated with final ratings figures.