Democratic Debate Night 2 Review: Joe Biden Takes A Beating But Keeps On Tickin’, Kamala Harris Comes Out Swinging On NBC Stage
UPDATE, 12:01 PM: Looks like the viewership estimations for the second Democratic debate were as conservative as frontrunner Joe Biden.
With 18.1 million tuning in to see Sen. Kamala Harris school the former VP, the simulcast across NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo is officially the most watched debate that the party of FDR, JKF, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton has ever had.
Topping the previous high of the CNN-hosted and Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders-led yakfest of October 2015 by 2.6 million, last night’s debate also had 9 million viewers and 14 million video views across all platforms such as NBCNews.com, MSNBC.com, Telemundo.com, NBC News NOW on OTT devices, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Which means, CNN better get its engines roaring for the next set of Dems debates that it is hosting in Motor City next month
PREVIOUSLY, 8:39 AM: The second night of the first Democratic debate of the 2020 presidential election season was certainly punchier and snappy than the previous evening.
Kamala Harris came out of her corner Thursday intending to belt and bruise frontrunner Joe Biden, and California’s junior senator did just that – which means the NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo simulcast was also much better TV than Night 1.
Building off the night before, the dust-up was also more of a magnet to viewers in comparison to Wednesday’s rather decorous affair with Sen. Elizabeth Warren and nine other candidates you’ve already forgotten, with the scrimmage scoring a 14.2/26 in metered markets across the trio of outlets. Remarkably steady with the Donald Trump jet-fueled Fox News Channel-hosted first GOP debate of the 2016 campaign, last night’s 9-11 PM ET event jumped 16.4% over Night 1 in the early metrics.
In fact, if the audience of 15.3 million that the 10 candidates drew Wednesday with moderators Savannah Guthrie, Lester Holt, Chuck Todd, Rachel Maddow and José Diaz-Balar is a fair indication, it’s reasonable to predict that last night’s hootenanny could snare just over 17 million viewers.
Still far behind the 24 million that tuned in for the former Celebrity Apprentice host and his fellow Republicans’ first debate almost four years ago, last night would exceed the 16 million that Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders (who was on stage in Miami with Harris, Biden and seven other contenders last night) and a trio of other hopefuls got in the first Dems debate of the last POTUS campaign back in October 2015.
Right now, in the unadjusted fast affiliates, Night 2 is looking at around 8.83 million viewers on NBC alone. That number will of course change as is the case with all live events like debates, sports and award shows. We’ll update with the final numbers and more of what else was on the small screen last night when they come in.
By then, there may likely be another swipe from the current POTUS against some of his would-be successors:
I am in Japan at the G-20, representing our Country well, but I heard it was not a good day for Sleepy Joe or Crazy Bernie. One is exhausted, the other is nuts – so what’s the big deal?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 28, 2019
In the meantime, the metered market breakdown for last night is an 8.1/15 on NBC itself, 5.3/10 for MSNBC and a 0.8/1 for Telemundo. It’s worth noting that Night 2 saw far fewer Spanish speaking candidates on stage in contrast to Night 1 with ex-cabinet secretary Julian Castro, former Congressman Beto O’Rourke and Garden State Sen. Cory Booker.
The debate dominated the night to give NBC a victory overall in total viewers and the adults 18-49 demographic. ABC’s Holey Moley (0.9, 4.26M) at 8 PM was the night’s top-rated entertainment program, though it was edged by a Young Sheldon rerun on CBS in total viewers. CBS finished the night with the series finale of Life In Pieces (0.6, 3.77M) and a new Elementary (0.4, 3.13M).
Fox was second overall in the demo for the night thanks to MasterChef (0.7, 2.89M), even with last week, and Spin the Wheel (0.6, 2.54M), off two tenths from its series premiere. Still, the latter edged ABC’s Family Food Fight (0.5, 2.53M) at 9 PM. ABC’s Reef Break (0.3, 1.99M) at 10 also dipped two tenths from a week ago.
The CW aired the season finale of In the Dark (0.2, 610,000), which followed an original iZombie (0.2, 670K). Both were flat compared with a week ago.