Published On: Wed, Jan 20th, 2016

Debbie Wasserman Schultz defends schedule as ratings for ‘Madam Secretary’ tops Democratic debate

Sunday night’s Democratic debate had 8.72 million viewers, according to Nielsen, but 11.34 million people watched CBS’s Madam Secretary, which aired at the same time. Over 20 million watched CBS’s 60 Minutes and the NFL playoff game, which aired at 7pm E.S.T, had over 40 million viewers.

Therefore, just over 10% of the network TV viewers (no cable data included in that figure) actually what Hillary Clinton fends off Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley for the Democratic presidential race.

The debate was held on a holiday weekend, following NFL playoffs. The prior Democratic debate was held on the last Saturday night before Christmas, the day after Star Wars: The Force Awakens was released, while the Jets played the Cowboys.

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Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz has claimed, “I did my best to make sure, along with my staff and along with our debate partners, to come up with a schedule that we felt was going … to maximize the opportunity for voters to see our candidates.”


The fourth GOP debate on Fox Business scored over 13.5 million viewers and CNBC’s third debate was over 14 million — figures which are shocking compared to a major network.

Contra Nielsen, NBC claims it had 10.2 million live viewers for this most recent Democratic debate.

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on her show Monday night asked Hillary Clinton if her campaign advocated for “a light schedule” putting debates “in TV Siberia — on weekends and holidays.”

“Well, Rachel, I really don’t have any knowledge of that,” Clinton responded in the phone interview.

“I’m not saying that nobody representing me or the other campaigns didn’t express an opinion,” Clinton said. “But it was my understanding that in looking at the sequencing of these debates, looking at the numbers of people who watched back in ’08, there was a decision to try to have a monthly debate once people were beginning to pay attention and try to drive more viewership.”

“I love the debates,” Clinton insisted Monday night, dodging when asked if she wished there were more debates after the host noted Sunday’s event was the last one until mid-February.

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