A whopping 24 million watched the debate from 9 p.m. ET to just past 11 p.m. ET. FNC drew 7.9 million in the A25-54 demo.
This is poised to be the highest non-sports cable program of all time. It’s already the highest-rated cable news program of all time and Fox News’s most-watched program ever.
The 5 p.m. ET debate, withe the 7 lower-tier candidates did very well for Fox News too, drawing 6.1 million total viewers and 1.2 million in the demo, making it the third-highest primary debate ever on cable.
We’ll have to wait for one of the data sites like FiveThirtyEight to calculate Trump’s influence on the ratings scientifically but you can get a sense of the magnitude by looking at the audience for Republican debates during the last cycle.
According to TV Newser, the first GOP primary debate in 2011 drew just shy of 3.3 million people; the audience for the most-watched debate, held just a few weeks before the Iowa caucuses in December 2011, was 7.6 million.
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