Thursday TV Ratings 6/27/24: Biden/Trump Debate Massively Down from First 2020 Debate as CNN Leads Overall Coverage, Olympic Track & Field Trials Top Non-Debate Programming [+ Analysis]

Ratings Analysis: Former president Donald Trump and current president Joe Biden were up against each other yet again for the first presidential debate of 2024, but the ratings were significantly lower than they were when the two faced off in 2020. 

Since CNN hosted the debate, their coverage led the way in the Adults 18-49 demographic (2.35) and in total viewership (9.53 million). ABC took second (1.56 rating/9.21 million viewers) and beat out the other broadcast networks in both metrics. Fox News (1.04 rating/9.28 million viewers) took third, while Fox (0.95 rating/3.68 million) came in fourth. NBC (0.94 rating/5.39 million) was slightly behind Fox in the key demo but eclipsed them in total viewers. CBS (0.85 rating/5.01 million) settled for sixth place in terms of rating, while MSNBC (0.41/4.12 million) took seventh. NewsMax (0.10 rating/1.28 million) and NewsNation (0.05 rating/0.35 million viewers) were a clear step behind the other networks. CBS (-39%), Fox (-41%), ABC (-51%), and NBC (-65%) were all down dramatically from their coverage of the first 2020 debate in the Adults 18-49 demographic, with NBC taking the most alarming hit of the four.

In terms of debate analysis, CNN (1.72 rating/7.74 million viewers) led the way in Adults 18-49 ratings, but Fox News (1.00/8.71 million viewers) had more total viewers. ABC (1.33 rating/7.24 million) was once more the highest-rated of the broadcast networks. CBS (0.57 rating/3.65 million) and NBC (0.56 rating/3.73 million) were in a virtual dead heat, while MSNBC (0.43 rating/4.72 million) was last in the ratings.

Non-debate programming was scarce. NBC aired the US Olympic Trials (0.53) at 8. ABC aired ABC News: Race for the White House (0.50) as a debate "pre-game" show. Fox took 3rd in the 8 p.m. hour with Copa Tonight (0.43) and followed that with Fox News Democracy '24 (0.33). CBS aired reruns of Young Sheldon (0.27) and Ghosts (0.23). Masters of Illusion (0.05, +0.01) and World's Funniest Animals (0.05, +0.02) were up on the CW.



18-49 Rating

18-49 Share

Viewers (mil)


8 PMUS Olympic Trials: Track & Field0.5374.12NBC

ABC News: Race for the White House0.5074.32ABC

Copa Tonight0.4361.19Fox

Young Sheldon (R)0.2732.77CBS

The Conners (R)0.0610.39CW
8:30 PMFox News Democracy '240.3341.10Fox

The Conners (R)0.0510.41CW
9 PM2024 Presidential Debate - Hosted by CNN2.35N/A9.53CNN

2024 Presidential Debate - Hosted by CNN1.56129.21ABC

2024 Presidential Debate - Hosted by CNN1.04N/A9.28Fox News

2024 Presidential Debate - Hosted by CNN0.9573.68Fox

2024 Presidential Debate - Hosted by CNN0.9475.39NBC

2024 Presidential Debate - Hosted by CNN0.8565.01CBS

2024 Presidential Debate - Hosted by CNN0.41N/A4.12MSNBC

2024 Presidential Debate - Hosted by CNN0.10N/A1.28Newsmax

2024 Presidential Debate - Hosted by CNN0.05N/A0.35Newsnation

Masters of Illusion0.0500.26CW
9:30 PMWorld's Funniest Animals0.05N/AN/ACW
10:30 PMDebate Analysis1.72N/A7.74CNN

Debate Analysis1.33117.24ABC

Debate Analysis1.00N/A8.71Fox News

Debate Analysis0.5753.65CBS

Debate Analysis0.5653.73NBC

Debate Analysis0.43N/A4.72MSNBC
(R) = repeat

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