TV Ratings: CBS News' GOP Debate Reaches 13.5M Viewers

GOP Debate South Carolina 2 H - 2016

The last Republican debate, on Feb. 6 on ABC News, was watched by 13.2 million viewers in final numbers.

CBS News first Republican debate — and the ninth for the party — was watched by 13.5 million viewers on Saturday night. By comparison, the Democrats on Thursday night were watched by 8 million viewers on PBS and CNN.

The last Republican debate, on Feb. 6 on ABC News, was watched by 13.2 million viewers in final numbers, an improvement from the first two of the calendar year on Fox Business Network and Fox News Channel.

Moderated by Face the Nation host John Dickerson with CBS News chief White House correspondent Major Garrett and the Wall Street Journal's Kimberley Strassel, the debate was the first for the GOP since the New Hampshire Primary on Feb. 9.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie — who delivered a devastating take down of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio at the previous GOP debate — was not there. He dropped out after a disappointing showing in New Hampshire. But the remaining Republican primary aspirants had plenty of ire for each other.

Donald Trump called Texas Sen. Ted Cruz a "nasty guy." Cruz and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio went at each other forcefully with Rubio saying that Cruz "lies." And governors John Kasich (Ohio) and Jeb Bush (Florida) competed for who was the better governor. 

See below for a complete rundown of debate audiences to date. 


Aug. 8 — 24 million  (FNC)
Sept. 16 — 23 million (CNN)
Oct. 28 — 14 million (CNBC)
Nov. 10 — 13.5 million (FBN)
Dec. 15 — 18.2 million (CNN)
Jan. 14 — 11.1 million (FBN)
Jan. 28 — 12.5 million (FNC)
Feb. 6 — 13.2 million (ABC)


Oct. 13 — 15.8 million (CNN)
Nov. 14 — 8.6 million (CBS)
Dec. 19 — 8 million (ABC)
Jan. 17 — 10.2 million (NBC)
Feb. 4 — 4.5 million (MSNBC)
Feb. 11 — 8.0 million (PBS/CNN)