CNN’s highly criticized airing of the second round of Democratic presidential debates was a ratings flop – attracting just 8.2 million viewers.
The three-hour Tuesday evening telecast hosted by Jake Tapper, Dana Bash and Don Lemon fell 46% from the 15.3 million audience that tuned into NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo’s debate coverage on June 26, according to Nielsen Media Research, Deadline reported.
It fared even more poorly in the demographic of adults 25-54, bringing in 2.4 million viewers – 44% from NBC’s coverage last month.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren was among the field of 10 hopefuls both nights.
NBC’s debate coverage the following night, which featured front-runner Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris, drew 18.1 million viewers and became the highest-rated Democratic debate in Nielsen ratings history.
CNN’s coverage from the Fox Theatre in Detroit was blasted by critics for its format that limited the back-and-forth between participants and for its lengthy beginning – the first question wasn’t asked until 23 minutes in.
“The time limit is horrible,” tweeted @SandraCoppola7. “I stopped watching when I realized no one could finish an answer to a question.”
Added another user: “This format is a disaster.”
Even Sen. Bernie Sanders seemed frustrated, accusing Tapper of using a “Republican talking point” in a question about “Medicare for All.“