Debate Drew 12.8 Million Viewers and 2.8 Million in A25-54 Beating Broadcast Networks Combined

FNC Notched Highest-Rated Non-Sports Cable Telecast of 2023, Topping “Yellowstone” in Viewers and 25-54 Demo 

Moderators Bret Baier & Martha MacCallum Outpaced More Than 70% of All Primary Debates in 2016 and 2020, Surpassing Iowa in 2016

NEW YORK – August 24, 2023FOX News Media’s Democracy 24: FOX News Republican Primary Debate was the most watched telecast in all of linear television, digital and streaming last night, averaging 12,803,000 viewers and 2,815,000 in the 25-54 demo, topping more than 70% of all presidential primary debates in the last two cycles (2016 and 2020), according to data from Nielsen Media Research. Co-moderated by Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum, the first presidential debate of the season averaged 13 million viewers across FOX News Channel (FNC), FOX Business Network (FBN), FOX Nation and FOX News Digital. Additionally, last night’s debate drew a larger audience than the network’s previous debate in Iowa in January 2016 without then-candidate Donald Trump which averaged 12.5 million total viewers.

On FNC, the debate was the highest-rated non-sports cable telecast of the year in total viewers, overtaking Paramount’s Yellowstone (8.2 million viewers), with 11.1 million viewers and 2.4 million in the 25-54 demo, topping ABC, CBS, NBC combined and outrating everything that aired on cable television.

FBN, which simulcasted the debate, delivered 1.7 million viewers and 401,000 in the 25-54 demo. During primetime, the network had triple-digit viewership advantages over CNBC, leading 551% in total viewers and a 384% advantage in the A25-54 demo. Additionally, total 25-54 demo viewers on FNC and FBN claimed the highest-rated for 2023, also outpacing Yellowstone’s previous record of 2.6 million viewers. 

FOX News Digital, according to Adobe Analytics, experienced a record day of engagement across key performance indicators, notching triple digit increases in key categories. FOX News Digital properties drove an average minute audience of nearly 200,000 between 9-11 PM/ET, marking the platform’s highest day of minutes watched on the FOX News livestream this year. In terms of page views, FOX News Digital saw over 125 million views for the day and during the debate, garnered over 20 million minutes watched, with users averaging about 30 minutes per viewer. Additionally, FOX News’ livestream minutes (223%), video starts (285%) and unique viewers (205%), were all up triple digits from the average 2023 weekday.

On social media, FOX News remained number one in total social engagement among the news competitive set (Facebook, Instagram, and X). FNC garnered over 694,000 social interactions, which comprised over 27% of Wednesday night’s social engagement among the news competitive set, according to Emplifi.

P 2+ FNC P 25-54 FNC    
Network Time (000s) % adv (000s) % adv    
FOXN 07:00P -11:00P 6828 1390    
CNN 07:00P -11:00P 917 645% 220 532%    
MSNB 07:00P -11:00P 1704 301% 193 620%    
FOXN 08:00P -11:00P 8459 1770    
CNN 08:00P -11:00P 889 852% 212 735%    
MSNB 08:00P -11:00P 1744 385% 191 827%    
FOXN 09:00P -11:00P 11092 2420    
CNN 09:00P -11:00P 754 1371% 182 1230%    
MSNB 09:00P -11:00P 1707 550% 169 1332%    


FOX News Media operates the FOX News Channel (FNC), FOX Business Network (FBN), FOX News Digital, FOX News Audio, FOX News Books, the direct-to-consumer streaming services FOX Nation and FOX News International and the free ad-supported television service FOX Weather. Currently the number one network in all of cable, FNC has also been the most watched television news channel for more than 21 consecutive years, while FBN is the top business channel on cable. Owned by Fox Corporation, FOX News Media reaches nearly 200 million people each month.


FOX News Media Contact:

Alexandra Coscia 212.301.3272