Given the sensation the GOP Presidential debates would generate, it’s no wonder the news networks went all out in getting to host them. Fox News wasted no time in locking them up, but with former President Donald Trump opting to sit out for a second time, they quickly knew the numbers would be surprisingly low.
What they didn’t expect was a massive drop-off in advertisers.
On the first debate, there was still a shred of hope that he might show up. It wasn’t until the debate started and he was seen at his rally that they solidified he was out. Yet they still were able to sell 30-second spots for $459,000 a piece, and they had a waiting list for them before it started.
This time around, with Trump already saying he was going to be with auto workers outside Detroit, MI, there was little demand for the spots. Just the day before the debate, they announced a massive sale, and 30-second spots were now being offered up for $200,000, according to Semafor. As one ad buyer told them, “Sans Trump… these debates just aren’t big-time TV, because the GOP primary race has become a snoozer.”
He’s right, too. Advertisers and ratings prove that this was a debate only for the diehards. And why wouldn’t it be? Debates this early usually don’t have the fireworks we want to see, and without the front-runner appearing, it’s not truly a debate. It’s watching people fight for second place. The only way that changes is if someone is willing to step out of the mold. So far, they are still too much like one another. Acting like another Trump wouldn’t get the people, either. Maybe the next debate will get them?