Bernie Sanders’ Fox News Town Hall Draws Huge Ratings, Most-Watched 2020 Forum to Date

Bernie Sanders’ Fox News Town Hall Draws Huge Ratings, Most-Watched 2020 Forum to Date

Based on the ratings performance of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ Fox News town hall event, expect to see other Democratic hopefuls make their way to the conservative-leaning network for their own forums, even as the Democratic National Committee has banned Fox from carrying any of their primary debates.

Sanders’ Monday town hall, which aired from 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM ET, delivered 2.554 million total viewers and 489,000 in the key 25-54 demographic, according to Nielsen. The town hall beat CNN and MSNBC combined during the time slot, as MSNBC drew 1.441 million viewers overall and 200,000 in the demo while CNN pulled in a demo audience of 281,000 and 913,000 total viewers.

Prior to Monday night, California Senator Kamala Harris’ CNN town hall in January had been this cycle’s top-rated forum, drawing 1.95 million total viewers, setting a CNN record for a single-candidate town hall.

In recent weeks, CNN has hosted town hall forums for many of the Democratic candidates, experiencing extremely low ratings for some of the forums featuring second- and third-tier candidates such as Kirsten Gillibrand and Jay Inslee. The network will continue to present more of these forums in the weeks ahead.

Other candidates, however, are expressing willingness to appear on Fox News, especially with Sanders’ raucous event drawing huge ratings and generating multiple headlines as he tangled with moderators Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum.

Per The Daily Beast, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who has been surging in polls, is in talks to participate in his own Fox News town hall. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA), a frequent Fox News guest who recently jumped into the race, said “he’s willing to do a Fox town hall, and we expect to start discussions with the network soon regarding a time and place.” And Rep. Tim Ryan’s (D-OH) team has also said they’re open to doing a Fox News event.

Justin Baragona

Justin Baragona is the founder/publisher of Contemptor and a contributor to The Daily Beast. He was previously the Cable News Correspondent for Mediaite and prior to starting Contemptor, he worked on the editorial staff of PoliticusUSA. During that time, he had his work quoted by USA Today and BBC News, among others. Justin began his published career as a political writer for 411Mania. He resides in St. Louis, MO with his wife and pets.