Biden-Sanders Debate Brings 10.8 Million Viewers to CNN, Significant Streaming

It was hardly a low for the Democratic debate cycle, but it was a dip from the most recent one.
Getty Images
Joe Biden (left) and Bernie Sanders

With a large number of Americans staying in (due to growing coronavirus-related social distancing) and zero sporting events to compete with, CNN aired the first one-on-one debate between Democratic presidential hopefuls Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders on Sunday night.

The WarnerMedia-owned cable network logged 10.8 million linear viewers, with an assist from Univision, and another 3.9 million live streams on its digital platform. It was hardly a low for the Democratic debate cycle, but it was a dip from the most recent one. The previous entry, which CBS News’ carried the week before Super Tuesday forced most remaining candidates out of the race, averaged 15.3 million viewers.

This marked the eleventh and, potentially, final debate ahead of the planned Democratic National Convention in July. There is a 12th debate on deck for April — but depending on both candidates’ performances in Tuesday's primaries in Arizona, Florida, Illinois and Ohio, Biden may be the last one standing by that point.

In the demo, the debate coverage brought in 3.414 million adults 25-54. In a network-by-network breakdown, CNN pulled 9.9 million viewers and Univision earned just under 1 million.

To date, the most-watched Democratic debate — of this cycle and historically — was NBC News’ Feb. 19 showdown, which attracted 33.2 million viewers across TV and streaming.