Trump-Free Fox News GOP Debate’s Early Ratings Sink From Summer’s Record High

FNC’s Thursday special draws better initial numbers than last two GOP events on other networks, however

Last Updated: January 29, 2016 @ 11:52 AM

We’ve got some good news for Fox News, and some bad news.

Thursday’s GOP debate — sans Donald Trump, in case you haven’t heard — was down heavy from the cable channel’s last one, which ran way back in the summer. However, the early Nielsen number was still higher than the previous two Republican events, which both had Trump’s participation. Those events were on Fox Business Network and CNBC, though — two much smaller cable news channels.

Fox News Channel pulled in an 8.35 household rating last night. In August, with Trump, the No. 1 cable news channel scored a whopping 15.91 number. Of course, that was peak Trump, and the debate even set non-sports cable viewership records.

A small bragging point for the Roger Ailes-run network: Last night’s GOP debate still easily topped any competitive televising of Trump’s fundraising event.

Thursday’s primetime GOP debate also topped sister channel Fox Business Network’s last effort — which had Trump — something the parent company is proud of this morning.

The one from two weeks ago had a 7.77 in the metered markets. FBN had a debate about two months earlier, though, that got a 9.05 — both can be seen among all Republican debate household¬†ratings at the bottom of this post.

Below¬†are each of the 2016 election GOP debates’ ratings per the very preliminary household metric, measuring just the 9-11 p.m. hours, when Thursday’s event went main stage. As you can see, GOP debate numbers have steadily been dwindling with each turn — until last night on FNC.

FNC (8/6/15): 15.91
CNN (9/16/15): 15.06
CNN (12/15/15): 12.22
CNN (10/13/15): 11.03
FBN (11/10/15): 9.05
FBN (1/14/16): 7.77
CNBC (10/28/15): 7.06
FNC (1/29/16): 8.35