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ABC News president James Goldston pronounced himself pleased with how the network’s Thursday night Democratic primary debate went, blasting out an email to colleagues congratulating them on a job well done.
The debate, which drew 14 million viewers, went off largely without a hitch, though a group of protestors caused a 30-second delay near the end of the event. The event’s moderators — George Stephanopoulos, David Muir, Jorge Ramos and Linsey Davis — also drew praise for their questioning of the 10 candidates.
“It was a very proud night for ABC News, an important step forward in how we approach these major events as an organization, and a journalistic masterclass from our brilliant moderators, George, Linsey, Jorge, and David,” Goldston said in the memo, which was obtained by The Hollywood Reporter.
Before listing some of the debate’s “impressive” metrics, he wrote, “I want to congratulate you all on a first rate debate in Houston and thank you for the hard work that went into an important and memorable event. It couldn’t have happened without each and every one of you.”
Without elaborating further on the saved feline, Goldston told employees that ABC News “served 1,300 fresh tortillas to press onsite, ate thousands of gummy bears and rescued one kitten.”
Here’s the full memo:
I want to congratulate you all on a first rate debate in Houston and thank you for the hard work that went into an important and memorable event. It couldn’t have happened without each and every one of you.
The numbers are impressive:
– Over 115,000 pounds of scenery and lighting was transported to Texas Southern University to create the debate hall and media filing center. This was in addition to 35 tractor trailers, 190 chain hoists, 5,500 feet of truss and 350 moving lights.
– The set included 20,000,000 LED pixels across the 10 screens in the debate hall and took 15,000 hours of man power to assemble.
– Operationally, the team executed 14,000+ minutes of transmission, had 6 generators running simultaneously and 1,550 unique devices registered on our own IT Network.
– Over 1,100 media credential requests were filed from hundreds of media organizations worldwide.
– And…we served 1,300 fresh tortillas to press onsite, ate thousands of gummy bears and rescued one kitten.
And all this preparation paid off:
– ABC not only delivered a three hour primetime debate, but also ran 11.5 straight hours of political coverage on ABC News Live.
– ABC delivered 12.93M total viewers, ranked #1 across the board and delivered double digit advantages versus ABC’s first Democratic debate in 2015. When taking Univision’s simulcast into account, the debate drew 14M total viewers.
– Last night was ABC’s most-watched Thursday in nearly 7 years and outperformed both nights of debates on NBC and CNN in overall viewers and the news demo.
– The debate marks the #1 political event ABC News has ever streamed live on YouTube. The stream had 493k peak concurrent viewers on YouTube, a more than 17x increase over the debate we hosted in February 2016.
– ABC News Live’s Debate captured 1.8M viewers and hit one of its biggest nights yet.
– The debate garnered 2.9M unique visitors and 11.0M video views across ABC brands and distributed partners including: Facebook Live, Twitter, Apple News, YouTube, Hulu, and Hotstar.
– Start Here anchored two editions from Houston, NewsOne completed 82 live shots of the debates and Radio created more than 150 debate-related audio cuts and 51 Two Ways for stations.
It was a very proud night for ABC News, an important step forward in how we approach these major events as an organization, and a journalistic masterclass from our brilliant moderators, George, Linsey, Jorge, and David.
Grateful to you all.
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