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If you air it, they will come. The fourth round of the GOP debates proved to be another huge draw for viewers, with preliminary ratings suggesting the business-focused showdown nabbed nearly as big of an audience as No. 3.
Overnight returns give Fox Business Network’s primetime showing a 8.9 rating among households and 13.5 million viewers in primetime. That’s just shy of the 9.5 rating and 14 million viewers earned by CNBC’s recent coverage for the third. It’s a guaranteed record for the channel. Just eight years old, the youngest cable news network and Fox News Channel sister has never approached such highs before.
This debate also ranks as the least distributed, with Fox Business in slightly fewer homes than CNBC — and both networks lacking the reach of the first two debates’ broadcasters, Fox News Channel and CNN. Fox Business also streamed the event, scoring a debate best 1.4 million concurrent streams.
Moderated by Maria Bartiromo, Neil Cavuto and Gerard Baker, the fourth debate again featured candidate Donald Trump earning both jeers and applause for his colorful appearance. It was also a smaller pool: only eight candidates compared to the 10-plus previously seen.
High as it might be for Fox Business, or any cable news network, the debates are on a downward trajectory. After Fox News Channel’s boffo 24 million viewers in August, CNN’s September follow-up pulled an equally impressive 23 million before October’s 14-million haul for CNBC.
Complete ratings for the GOP debate, including total viewership, will be available later on Wednesday.
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