New Record----> The most-watched cable news program ever
The first Republican debate 4 years ago got 3.2M viewers (considered not bad at the time)
In the estimation of many reporters who cover the political and media beats, Fox News was the winner of the first GOP debate. And with the just-released ratings we can confirm that.
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 now the highest non-sports cable program of all time, 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.
In the 2012 cycle, the first GOP debate, also on Fox News, and airing much earlier — on May 5, 2011 — was watched by 3.258 million viewers. The most-watched primary debate drew 7.630 million on ABC on the night of Dec. 10, 2011.