The latest GOP town hall event generated a lot of headlines—from Donald Trump dropping his pledge to support another Republican presidential nominee to CNN’s Anderson Cooper getting tough with the candidates. What’s more, last night’s event generated some record television ratings for CNN.
The event averaged 3.26 million viewers between 8 and 11 p.m. EDT, making it the most-watched town hall in cable news history and making Time Warner’s (TWX) CNN the highest-rated cable news network on Tuesday night. CNN also pulled in an average of nearly 1.1 million adults between the ages of 25 and 54, according to Nielsen’s estimates.
Of course, CNN’s Tuesday night totals pale in comparison to most of the debates hosted by networks in the current election cycle, including GOP debates on CNN and Fox News last year that pulled in well over 20 million viewers each. Town hall events follow a different format from the more popular debates, with each of the remaining Republican candidates coming out separately last night for one-on-one interviews with CNN’s Cooper.
As Variety notes, the most viewers (more than 4 million) tuned in to last night’s CNN-hosted town hall during Cooper’s interview of GOP front-runner Donald Trump. During that exchange, Trump reversed course on an earlier pledge he signed promising to support the eventual Republican nominee even if that is someone other than himself. Trump backed away from that promise last night, claiming that he has been “treated unfairly.” Also last night, rival candidates Ted Cruz and John Kasich declined to reiterate their own previous pledges to support their party’s eventual nominee.