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A debate by any other name would smell as sweet — unless you call it a “Town Hall.”
Monday’s Democratic Town Hall on CNN, which did not actually feature any sparring between presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders, averaged 3.2 million viewers and nearly 950,000 in the key news demo of adults 25-54 for the cable network. That’s a coup for CNN on an otherwise run-of-the-mill Monday night, but nowhere near the numbers the debates have been grabbing.
The Town Hall, the most-watched non-debate primary showdown on record, topped cable news for the night by both measures — though the last Dem debate brought 10.2 million viewers to NBC News. The Democrats have already proven to be a smaller TV draw than their Republican contemporaries. The GOP’s packed debate schedule has waned in its audience hauls, but the showdowns are still doing gangbusters.
If you’re searching for an apples-to-apples comparison, the closest thing to the Town Hall is probably MSNBC’s Democratic Forum back in November. That nabbed 2.3 million viewers on a Friday night.
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