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ABC’s Debate Most-Watched This Cycle

ABCNews_4.17.gif10.7 Million Total Viewers tuned in to the Democratic debate on ABC last night. The two-hour debate gave ABC’s the best Total Viewer night since last November. The first hour ranked first in its time period in Total Viewers, A18-49 and A25-54. topping “American Idol.” The debate retained 96% of its Total Viewing audience in the second hour and actually grew 4% in A18-49.

The ratings are based on Nielsen Fast Affiliate Live +Same Day data.

ABC’s press release is after the jump…


Last night’s Democratic presidential debate hosted by ABC News, the National Constitution Center, and WPVI-TV was easily the most-watched of the 2008 presidential cycle. The debate averaged 10.7 million Total Viewers, a 3.5/9 among Adults 25-54, and a 2.7/7 among Adults 18-49. The debate was moderated by ABC News’ anchors Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia and aired from 8-10 p.m. ET/PT on the ABC Television Network.

For the 8-10 p.m. time period, this marks ABC’s best Total Viewing audience since 11/28/07, its largest Adult 18-49 rating since 2/27/08, and its best Adult 25-54 rating since 1/9/08.

The first hour of Wednesday’s debate ranked first in its time period among Total Viewers, Adults 18-49 and Adults 25-54. Up against Fox’s “American Idol” and an original episode of CBS’ “Criminal Minds” at 9 p.m., the debate retained 96% of it Total Viewing audience, retained 100% of its Adults 25-54 audience, and grew 4% among Adults 18-49 from the first hour to the second hour.

Additionally, the debate beat “American Idol” program-to-program in four markets: Philadelphia, Orlando, San Antonio, Albuquerque, according to Household ratings.

Last night’s debate outperformed the previous debate viewing record (which also aired on ABC) by double digits in key categories — by 14% among Total Viewers, 21% among Adults 25-54, and 17% among Adults 18-49. The previous high for this election cycle was ABC’s January 5th Democratic presidential debate, which averaged 9.4 million, a 2.9/7 among Adults 25-54, and a 2.3/6 among Adults 18-49. Charles Gibson moderated the forum in Manchester, New Hampshire just days before the state’s first-in-the-nation primary.

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