Viewers may be getting tired of rhetoric
Are you tired of hearing that racist, sexiest, woman-groping, Chicago-hating, wannabe rapist running as the Republican nominee for President?
Yours truly know he is. And so are millions of Americans.
Sunday night’s second debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump drew 66 million viewers, down from the record 84 million the first had on September 26. The debate was shown on several channels, but not NBC, who stuck with Sunday Night Football although NBC’s owned-and-operated stations (including WMAQ here) aired the debate on Cozi, the stations’ classic TV diginet channel.
Other NBC affiliates delayed the debate until after their late local news.
Also affecting numbers were slow returns from hurricane-stricken markets, including those in South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. Plus, TBS aired Game 3 of an ALDS series between the Texas Rangers and Toronto Blue Jays.
The doomsday scenario many were predicting about a ratings disaster never really materialized. The SNF matchup between the New York Giants and the Green Bay Packers drew 16.6 million – far from the lowest rating ever set for an NFL football game in primetime. The ALDS game on TBS drew a 1.6 household rating, only down slightly from last year’s comparable game (on FS1, also featuring Jays/Rangers.)
The news wasn’t all positive: Sunday Night Football hit a three-year ratings low, and the baseball game dropped more than 40 percent from a comparable ALDS matchup two years ago.
Too much has been made of the NFL’s declining ratings this year – to the point of nauseation.
Despite lower numbers, the Presidential Debate was on par with the second debate in 2012, when 65.6 million watched President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney duke it out. And it was the most tweeted debate of all time, but likely with many dissenting voices.
But some viewers (including yours truly) were clearly turned off by the tone and nature of the debate. “I think people are repulsed by it now,” a TV exec noted Monday, according to CNN Money. Adding fuel to the fire was a tape released Friday featuring Trump engaging in “locker-room” talk with television personality Billy Bush on an “Access: Hollywood” bus. Bush, now co-host of The Today Show, has been suspended indefinitely by NBC pending an investigation as of this writing.
The chilly nature of the debate was apparent throughout. When the debate opened, the two didn’t shake hands – reminding yours truly (and a lot of hockey fans) the quote made by then-Detroit Red Wings Player Dino Ciccarelli after the end of the 1996 Western Conference Finals, stating “I can’t believe I shook that friggin guy’s hand”, referring to Colorado Avalanche player Claude Lemieux, who viciously hit Red Wings player Kris Draper into the boards. The Avs advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals, where they won it all.
And yep, the debate had the atmosphere of two hated rivals going after one another. You’d expect Avs goaltender Patrick Roy to come out and start wailing on someone.
The next and final debate is for October 19. We might need a boxing ring.