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Debate Gives CNN Ratings Win; Erin Burnett Sees Big Boost, But Still Comes In Third

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Last night’s Republican debate gave CNN a ratings win last night, with a very impressive 5.5 million people tuning in. The big numbers translated to increased viewers across CNN’s entire evening slate of programs, but the build-up to the debate didn’t garner Erin Burnett a win as the lead-in — she finished third in the 7 p.m. time-slot, behind Shepard Smith and Chris Matthews. The debate did, however, almost double Burnett’s numbers from Monday night, bringing her from approximately 330,000 viewers to 636,000. Will the extra exposure translate into more viewers sticking around permanently? Find out tomorrow.

Other nuggets:

  • The 5.5 Million total viewers is the second most viewers for a GOP debate thus far, falling just short of 6.1 million viewers who tuned into the Fox News debate aired on September 22nd.
  • Shepard Smith’s numbers at 7 p.m. actually went up from Monday, in spite of the debate taking place on CNN and most viewers planning on abandoning him for CNN at 8. O’Reilly and Hannity saw dips as the debate’s direct competition, but Van Susteren reeled viewers back in at 10 p.m., after the debate had finished.
  • Not everyone saw viewer losses against the debate. Nancy Grace and Dr. Drew, programmed against the debate at 8 p.m., actually saw a jump in eyeballs from Monday to Tuesday. The debate siphoned viewers away from the other networks, but Grace and Pinsky seemed to have been successful counter-programming.
  • Order was restored at 11 p.m., when a repeat of O’Reilly downed a repeat of the debate.
  • Here are the complete cable news ratings for Tuesday night:

  • TV NEWS RATINGS: 25-54 DEMOGRAPHIC (L +SD)
    Fox News CNN MSNBC CNN Headline News
    5 pm The5 

    390

    Blitzer 

    155

    Matthews 

    171

    Special 

    88

    6 pm Baier 

    379

    King, USA 

    73

    Sharpton 

    136

    Prime 

    102

    7 pm Shep 

    563

    Burnett 

    157

    Matthews 

    177

    Issues 

    114

    8 pm O’Reilly 

    548

    GOP Debate
     

    1.660

    O’Donnell 

    158

    Grace 

    163

    9 pm Hannity 

    437

    GOP Debate (2)
     

    1.536

    Maddow 

    200

    DrDrew 

    94

    10 pm Van Susteren 

    515

    Cooper 

    735

    Schultz 

    176

    Behar 

    89

    11 pm O’Reilly 

    533

    GOP Debate
     

    439

    O’Donnell 

    102

    Showbiz 

    67

    TOTAL DAY 337 342 97 105
    PRIME TIME 500 1.347 172 112
    Data by Nielsen Media Research. Live and same day (DVR) data.
    TV NEWS RATINGS: TOTAL VIEWERS (L +SD)
    Fox News CNN MSNBC CNN Headline News
    5 pm The5 

    1,671

    Blitzer 

    622

    Matthews 

    729

    Special 

    317

    6 pm Baier 

    1,924

    King, USA 

    412

    Sharpton 

    670

    Prime 

    329

    7 pm Shep 

    2.031

    Burnett 

    636

    Matthews 

    791

    Issues 

    395

    8 pm O’Reilly 

    2.534

    GOP Debate
     

    5.495

    O’Donnell 

    704

    Grace 

    527

    9 pm Hannity 

    1.632

    GOP Debate (2)
     

    5.082

    Maddow 

    790

    DrDrew 

    360

    10 pm Greta 

    1,991

    Cooper 

    2.244

    Ed Show 

    1.009

    Behar 

    443

    11 pm O’Reilly 

    1,503

    GOP Debate
     

    1.115

    O’Donnell 

    527

    Showbiz 

    296

    TOTAL DAY 1,341 1.093 495 278
    PRIME TIME 2,054 4.396 834 435
    Data by Nielsen Media Research. Live and same day (DVR) data
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