The Republican presidential primary debate that was aired on Fox News on Wednesday night brought in roughly 12.8 viewers, falling far short of ratings earned for a comparable election-season kickoff eight years ago.
The former President Donald Trump’s refusal to attend the event due to what he believes is an insurmountable lead clearly hurt numbers for the network.
How much? Nearly half.
Fox News broke records in 2015, when they hosted the first GOP debate and scored 24 million viewers.
Still, left-wing media outlets like Mediaite did their best to spin the news, describing the 12.8 million viewers as “whopping” and noting the debate earned those views “even without Trump.”
🚨 RATINGS: The Trump-less GOP debate brought in only about half of the viewers as the August 2015 debate. (12.8 vs 23.9) https://t.co/SiEtsloZXi
— Kyle Raccio (@kyleraccio) August 24, 2023
Fox News Debate: Trump Cost Them Millions of Viewers
While not even vaguely an apples to oranges comparison, Tucker Carlson’s interview with Trump, which ran directly opposite the Fox News debate, has compiled 254 million viewers.
But that 2015 GOP debate is certainly comparable. And we’re talking a drop of 11.2 million sets of eyes on the very same network.
CNN GUEST SAYS — NO ONE IS GOING TO WATCH TRUMP/TUCKER INTERVIEW ON X. 24 hours later Trump interview on Tucker on X has 196.6 million views.
Bakari Sellers on CNN BEFORE the GOP debate said nobody will watch Tucker Carlson’s interview with Trump: “Just for the record,… pic.twitter.com/ByqeDshxkN
— Futurist (@americasgreat) August 24, 2023
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The Fox News debate fell short of viewership levels for the Democratic opening primary debate in 2019, which drew 15.3 million viewers.
It also came up shy of both the aforementioned Republican and Democratic primary debates in 2015, the latter of which grabbed 15.5 million viewers.
So you can see the drastic effect Trump’s absence brings.
Lol. Half of what it was WITH Trump. Pathetic numbers.https://t.co/t9ZH6o8BKk
— Marsupial Gamer (@Marsupial_Gamer) August 24, 2023
One of the debate hosts, Martha MacCallum, was so proud of the effort that she shared the Mediaite spin article and promptly got ratioed.
Love you girl.. but this isn’t anything to brag about as I’m pretty sure Tucker and Trump pulled millions more
— Bulldog 🏈 (@Bulldog78932701) August 24, 2023
Trump To Carlson: We’ll Get Bigger Ratings
Even on far-left networks, former President Trump is a huge ratings draw.
That was seen earlier this year, when CNN hosted a town hall event with Trump. Despite employees throwing a temper tantrum ultimately resulting in the firing of their CEO Chris Licht, his presence still managed to bring in 3.3 million viewers to the network.
🚨 CNN’s Trump town hall draws 3.3 million viewers, making CNN the most-watched cable news network of the evening, according to final ratings from Nielsen.
— Insider Paper (@TheInsiderPaper) May 12, 2023
Trump told Carlson that ratings for cable news programs are way down due to a glaring lack of credibility.
And that includes Fox News.
“Fox is way down, as you know, and the good old days are long ago. I will say this. It could come back but they just don’t have a lot of credibility,” he said.
Trump: “Cable news is down because it lost credibility. Fox is way down and the good old days are long ago. It was a terrible move getting rid of you. We’ll get bigger ratings than the debate.” pic.twitter.com/AN5Xs4KLdr
— TheBlaze (@theblaze) August 24, 2023
Trump noted that Carlson, who was fired by Fox News, knows they lack credibility more than anyone.
“I think it was a terrible move getting rid of you. You were number one on television, and all of a sudden …” Trump explained.
“We’re doing this interview, but we’ll get bigger ratings using this crazy forum that you’re using than probably the debate, our competition,” he added.
It’s hard not to come to the conclusion that Trump was right once again on this one.
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