Fox News' debate ratings were a lot better without Donald Trump

Fox News called Donald Trump’s bluff and came out on top.

According to rival cable news channel CNN, Thursday’s Republican presidential debate scored an 8.4 household rating, according to early numbers. That means that 8.4% of the U.S. with metered televisions were watching the debate.

Final numbers, including total viewers, will be available later on Friday.

That’s an increase over the previous debate on Fox Business Channel on January 14, which earned a 7.4, although it didn’t beat any of the other debates held.

Specifically for Fox News, it’s a ways off from the debate it aired in August, the first of this election, which broke records with its 24 million viewers.

Notable for this debate was Trump’s absence after insisting that
Fox News host Megyn Kelly drop out as one of the moderators. He has complained about her supposedly biased coverage for months.

With each debate scoring less viewers than the previous one, it’s hard to say what affect Trump’s absence from the event had on the ratings. Some may have tuned out because he wasn’t coming. Others may have tuned in to see what a Trump-less debate would be like.

It all came to a head late last night when Fox News revealed that Trump had asked them to make a $5 million charitable contribution in exchange for his participation in the debate. It denied his request, citing that it went against their journalistic principles.

Business Insider reached out to Fox News for comment.

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