The television audience for Sunday’s second debate between White House contenders Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton is unlikely to be as large as their first, record-setting encounter, according to preliminary ratings data cited by U.S. media.
The Hollywood Reporter, CNN and Variety said on Monday that very early overnight ratings from Nielsen showed the TV audience was about 19 percent to 20 percent down from the Sept. 26 debate, which attracted a record 84 million viewers.
Final figures for all network and cable channels that carried the debate will be released by Nielsen later on Monday.
Second presidential debates tend to attract smaller TV audiences but attention was high going into Sunday’s face-off after the emergence of a 2005 video of Trump making vulgar remarks about women prompted several Republican politicians to abandon him.
The second debate took place in the same time slot as NBC’s popular “Sunday Night Football,” which is usually the most-watched television event of the week. NBC did not carry the debate.
Sunday’s debate, the second of three before the Nov. 8 election, was remarkable for the brutal nature of the exchanges between Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, and Clinton, his Democratic rival.
(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by W Simon and Bill Trott)