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An average of 15.3 million people watched the South Carolina Democratic Party presidential primary debate on CBS, Deadline reported, citing Nielsen ratings data. That amount doesn’t count the viewers who watched the debate on BET’s simulcast.
The CBS ratings figure is even higher than NBC's ratings a week earlier for its debate in Las Vegas. More than 12.1 million viewers tuned in for that event, and another 7.7 million people watched on MSNBC. Together, that set a record for the primary season, according to the report.
But with BET’s ratings still to be added to the early numbers, the South Carolina debate will be even higher, according to the report.
CBS News’s post-debate coverage had 5.5 million viewers, according to the report.
Tuesday’s event was the final debate before the South Carolina primary and Super Tuesday, when voters in 14 states hit the primary polls.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, who went into the event as the winner of the Nevada primary, was the top target for his fellow candidates. But Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren criticized former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, and there were numerous potshots between candidates throughout the event.