UPDATES WITH FINAL LIVE RATINGS: The ratings for the GOP debate on Fox News and Donald Trump's benefit event for veterans offer no clear winner in the feud between the candidate and the conservative cable channel.
Fox News earned a rating of 8.4 during the debate Thursday, which means 8.4 percent of TV households were tuned to the debate. That o translate to 12.5 million viewers, according to Nielsen.
That is only about half the audience that watched the first Fox GOP debate in August. That one included Trump.
So the billionaire candidate will clearly be able to claim that his absence hurt Fox Thursday.
Further, if Fox was selling ads with a promise of anything bigger than 12 million, which I imagine it was, it will probably have to provide advertising time free of charge to make up the difference.
On the plus side for Fox, CNN and MSNBC combined -- the two channels that carried most of Trump's improvised event Thursday night -- drew less than a quarter of the debate audience.
So that gives Fox News some room to boast about how it beat down Trump in the ratings -- though CNN only carried about 15 minutes of the event.
Still, on the eve of the Iowa caucuses, 8.4 has to be a disappointing number. It is barely larger than the number the last GOP debate drew on the Fox Business Network, and that is a platform with a smaller reach.
As I wrote when Trump's decision to ditch the debate was first announced: No one wins in the game of chicken they played this week.