JOE LHOTA MAY HAVE BEEN BANKING ON HIS THREE PRIMETIME TV DEBATES WITH BILL DE BLASIO TO TURN THE TIDE OF THE MAYOR'S RACE, BUT RATINGS SHOW VIEWERSHIP ACTUALLY FELL WITH EACH SUCCESSIVE SHOWDOWN.
According to Nielsen stats, 446,000 people turned in to the first of the three showdowns, which was broadcast on WABC-TV (and co-sponsored by the Daily News) at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 15.
Tune-ins slipped to 327,000 for de Blasio v. Lhota Round 2, broadcast on CBS 2, also at 7 p.m., the following Tuesday.
Only 171,000 viewers caught the third and final NBC 4-broadcast debate, which was shifted from this past Tuesday to Wednesday in a nod to the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy.
The one-day delay put the 90-minute debate -- only the first hour of which ran on network TV -- up against Game Six of the World Series.
By comparison, Nielsen ratings show 449,000 people tuned in to the Aug. 13 primetime primary debate between the top five Democrats fighting it out for the mayoral nomination.
That program, another WABC/Daily News production, marked the first live televised Democratic contenders debate available to all viewers in the New York metro area.
IMAGE: AP PHOTO/WALL STREET JOURNAL, PETER FOLEY, POOL