Ratings: Second Debate Down Sharply vs. First Debate, Once Ticks Up

The second Presidential debate was down double digits compared to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump’s first showdown, and it appears football is the culprit.

UPDATE: The final numbers are in, and Debate No. 2 pulled in 60.3 million viewers across CBS, ABC, Fox, CNN, Fox News  Channel and MSNBC, off sharply versus the 84 million that watched the first debate.

ORIGINAL STORY: With NBC forgoing debate coverage in favor of its regularly scheduled Sunday Night Football, Sunday’s slugfest notched a 37.2 household rating and 53 share from the major networks — off 19 percent from the 46.2/63 overnight rating for Debate No. 1 (which ended up drawing a record 84 million viewers when the final numbers came in.)

CBS was the top broadcast draw with 10.4 rating, followed by ABC (7.3) and Fox (3.6). CNN, meanwhile, was tops among the cable networks with a 6.6.

Among the night’s very limited scripted offerings, Once Upon a Time enjoyed a nice uptick, attracting 4.6 million viewers and a 1.3 demo rating, a week-over-week gain of 24 and 18 percent, respectively.  ABC notes that Once scored its biggest audience since last November.

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18 Comments
  1. Collette says:

    Not surprising. Both candidates are hard on the ears and on the mind. The reviews from MSM will declare HRC the winner, Fox will declare for DJT and the public will have wasted their time. It’s like choosing between cholera and ebola. Either will likely be deadly.

  2. MMD says:

    Not surprising since most people just want the damn election over with. There was also baseball on as well which I would have watched if I hadn’t forgotten because I was watching Netflix. Yay Jays!

  3. I would have thought that the debate would have taken out a chunk from SNF ratings not the other way around.

  4. Mr. Smith says:

    A highlight of what is a major problem in America is that one network shows entertainment instead of focusing on who should be the next President.

    Not many people care about the issues…

    • wrstlgirl says:

      ABC aired OUAT after the debate, at least in my area, but regarding the debates. They are nothing but cheap entertainment. Even when they do talk about the issues, which is rare, both sides lie, lie, lie!!!

  5. Douglas from Brazil says:

    OUAT did a 1.3 up from last week. Per ShowBuzzDaily

  6. Adam says:

    I’m surprised since I thought the scandal would have brought in more returning viewers. I believe I read Twitter say at least that it’s their most tweeted about debate yet. I’m suspecting that the all the livestreams set up for this debate impacted ratings as well.

  7. Phil says:

    The Once premiere was so disappointing I think I’m done. Have the last two weeks made it worthwhile, or just more of the same?
    Emma hiding her shaking hand from the family she loves and wants to protect is just SO stupid, that just may have been my breaking point. Not telling them serves no motivation – character, emotional, logical – except plot, and that’s just terrible writing. Unless they got better the last two weeks?

    • Andrew says:

      @ Phil – I actually liked the premiere, but have found these last two episodes kind of so-so. I rolled my eyes when Emma decided to lie, too. So far, in my opinion, the Untold Stories have been way more interesting than any of the plots involving the main characters.

      You haven’t missed anything,really. The central characters are still meandering around town talking about the Untold Stories and phoning it in while the Evil Queen keeps making idle threats, Emma is still lying, at least to to her parents, although Henry and Hook know something is up, and: David is now lying to Mary Margaret about not investigating his father’s death. It’s more of the same, honestly.

      The only good parts of last night’s episode were the Cinderella flashbacks. They finally introduced Lady Tremaine and did their take on the classic story. Tremaine was such a b**** that she could give The Evil Queen a run for her money. I wouldn’t mind seeing her again, either.

      The show has definitely lost some of its charm over the years, but: This season has been a big improvement over the horrible Dark Swan storyline. I don’t blame you for tuning out, though.

  8. JenE says:

    Hmmm an episode dominated by 2 Regina’s ends up being one of the lowest rated ever for the series but an episode dominated by Hook, Emma and Henry plus a character everyone has always wanted more of in Cinderella gets the biggest ratings in awhile. Interesting.

    • Rose says:

      I agree 2 reginas are painful to watch.I can’t stand 1 of them! EQ is a clown character at this point. And the fact that Snow became regina’s mother is absolutely ridiculous.I wish they will not destroy Hook and Emma’s development,it’s the only storyline that keeps me from giving up on this show.

    • Aly says:

      That is because the show got an artificial boost by the debate this week. Next week it will be down again.

  9. David says:

    Matt–Where are Friday nights ratings. Have not seen them. What happened and please post them. Thanks!