WASHINGTON – Fox News Channel made ratings history Thursday night with the widely watched Republican presidential primary debate in Cleveland.
More than 24 million viewers tuned in to watch the two-hour prime-time event which featured the top 10 GOP candidates in the running for the 2016 presidential nomination. That makes it the highest-rated primary debate in television history as well as the highest-rated non-sports cable telecast of all time in total viewers.
According to Nielsen Media Research, an average viewership of 24 million for one telecast is more than the combined viewers that watched the top 20 cable networks last week.
The night’s ratings also eclipsed Game 7 of the 2014 World Series which drew in an average of 23.5 million viewers.
The cable news network pulled in 7.9 million viewers in the key 25-54 demographic.
Moderated by Fox News anchors Megyn Kelly, Chris Wallace and Bret Baier, the debate was the network’s most-watched program ever in both total viewers and the demo. The Thursday debate more than doubled the network’s previous high of 11.8 million total viewers, earned during the coverage of the 2012 presidential election.
The evening’s 5 p.m. debate between the seven Republican candidates who did not make the primetime cut averaged 6.1 million total viewers and 1.2 million viewers in the 25-54 demographic, which made it the third-highest primary presidential debate ever for the network.
Both debates were hosted by Fox News and Facebook, in conjunction with the Ohio Republican Party.