People love a good sh*t show, and shows don’t get much sh*ttier than the first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump last night at New York’s Hofstra University. It began with a flat joke and annoying sniffling, and ended with Seth Meyers giving a “closer look” at Trump’s evasiveness — in between, there was talk of global warming, nuclear weapons, federal income taxes, the legality of stop and frisk, 400-pound hackers, and whatever a “presidential look” means (something sexist).
It was a mess, and we couldn’t get enough of it.
More than 80 million people tuned in to see Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump face off, setting a new record in the 60-year history of televised presidential debates. The final numbers are still being tallied by Nielsen. But the debate averaged a total of 80.9 million viewers across 12 of the channels [ABC, NBC, Fox, CBS, PBS, MSNBC, Fox News, Fox Business, CNN, Univision, Telemundo, or C-SPAN] that carried it live… The 80.9 million viewer total [does not] include PBS and C-SPAN. Ratings for PBS will be available later. (Via CNN)
If these numbers hold, Clinton vs. Trump: Round I would become the most-watched presidential debate ever, slightly besting Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter’s sparring match in 1980, which brought in 80.6 million viewers. The only other program in 2016 with a better rating is Super Bowl 50, which, considering 19 out of the top 20 broadcasts of all-time are Super Bowls, isn’t a surprise. For once, Donald Trump can say something’s huge, and mean it.