Tuesday night's Democratic debate in South Carolina on CBS and BET delivered 15.8 million viewers, according to early numbers from Nielsen Media Research.
The total number represents a viewership drop-off of more than 20 percent from last week's Democratic Debate in Nevada, which marked the first time former New York City Mayor Michael BloombergMichael BloombergWithout drastic changes, Democrats are on track to lose big in 2022 Bidens, former presidents mark 9/11 anniversary The tragedy of 9/11 — an inflection point in American history MORE was on the debate stage.
However, Tuesday's chaotic event from Charleston still ranks among the most-watched debates of the 2019-2020 primary season.
The most-watched primary debate ever occurred on Fox News in August 2015, when more than 24 million people watched then-candidate Donald TrumpDonald TrumpOhio Republican who voted to impeach Trump says he won't seek reelection Youngkin breaks with Trump on whether Democrats will cheat in the Virginia governor's race Trump endorses challenger in Michigan AG race MORE in his first debate.
CBS moderators on Tuesday were on the receiving end of pointed criticism from both the left and right for not stopping the candidates from speaking over one another and continuing to make arguments well past their allotted time.
Does CBS have a buzzer or something to organize this??? What’s going on?— Mika BrzezinskiMika Emilie BrzezinskiEx-NBC anchor Kasie Hunt to join CNN Biden nominates Mark Brzezinski to be U.S. ambassador to Poland Kasie Hunt headed to CNN after NBC departure: report MORE (@morningmika) February 26, 2020
the moderators have lost complete control of this debate— Glenn Kessler (@GlennKesslerWP) February 26, 2020
The candidates have figured out the moderators are not in charge.— Ramesh Ponnuru (@RameshPonnuru) February 26, 2020
When the candidates start talking over each other, the moderators should:— Errol Louis (@errollouis) February 26, 2020
1) Bring the whole thing to a dead halt
2) Give them an order in which to speak ("you, then you senator, then you Mr. Mayor," etc.)
Not complicated. You have to keep control.
The South Carolina primary is Saturday, just days before 15 states head to the polls for Super Tuesday.