TV Ratings: CNN's 'White House' Scores After Latest Dem Debate

The network's latest original series debuts as its most-watched, though Clinton and Sanders draw a smaller crowd than typical.

In the grand scheme of things, Sunday's debate between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders was hardly a blockbuster — but the CNN-hosted event helped drum up some great numbers for the cable news network's latest original series.

Following the Democratic presidential candidate debate from Flint, Mich., CNN debuted Race for the White House to the tune of 2.6 million viewers and 885,000 adults 25-54. Not only does that rank as the biggest premiere for a CNN original series since the network's bigger push into doc and unscripted fare, it stands as the highest-rated CNN original telecast to date.

Race for the White House, a six-part series, is produced by Dana Brunetti and Kevin Spacey, with the latter lending his familiar voice as narrator.

As for the debate, the Anderson Cooper-moderated affair averaged 5.5 million viewers. For the current debate cycle, that's a near low for the Democrats. It outperforms only the Feb. 4 debate hosted by MSNBC. Among adults 25-54, the faceoff pulled 1.79 million.

There will be little rest for Clinton and Sanders. On the eve of the pivotal Michigan Primary, both candidates are also participating tonight in a town hall meeting hosted by Fox News Channel.

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


Aug. 6 — 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)
Feb. 13 — 13.5 million (CBS)
Feb. 25 — 14.5 million (CNN/Telemundo)
March 3 — 16.9 million (FNC)


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)
March 6 — 5.5 million (CNN)