It really should not come as a surprise that we’re talking about a ratings record with the Hillary Clinton – Donald Trump Presidential Debate. Many people speculated that it could be as big as the Super Bowl in terms of total ratings — we didn’t get to that level necessarily, but it’s still topping almost everything else.
Per some of the preliminary numbers across multiple broadcast and cable networks, it is estimated that more than 81 million people saw the debate, moderated by NBC News’ Lester Holt. This does not include ratings from publicly-funded networks, or streams that were tabulated online. This will probably boost the number somewhat, but as it is the debate looks to top the one with Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter, which tallied over 80 million back when there were not so many other viewing methods out there.
It’s unlikely that any future debate this election cycle will top this in our mind, given that there’s nothing like the first debate when it comes to generating huge ratings and getting people talking. We’ll see where the numbers fall moving forward.
For those wondering in terms of a comparison, the Super Bowl tends to top 100 million viewers on a fairly regular basis in terms of live viewers, and it does that all on a singular network as opposed to being simulcast all over the place. That is one of many reasons why it will probably remain the most impressive things we see viewership-wise for some time.
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