Republican presidential candidates from left, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Ben Carson, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Donald Trump, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Ohio Gov. John Kasich take the stage for the first Republican presidential debate at the Quicken Loans Arena.
Republican presidential candidates from left, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Ben Carson, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Donald Trump, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Ohio Gov. John Kasich take the stage for the first Republican presidential debate at the Quicken Loans Arena. AP Photo - Andrew Harnik

Republican debate breaks TV record thanks to Trump

A STAGGERING 24 million viewers tuned in to watch the first major Republican US presidential debate, making it the highest-rated non-sports telecast in cable television history.

The Fox News viewership of the prime-time debate, in which frontrunner billionaire Donald Trump squared off against nine challengers for the party's nomination, was by far the highest rating of any presidential primary debate, Nielsen figures showed.

"Fox had 24 million viewers last night. That is an absolutely monster number," tweeted Fox media commentator Howard Kurtz.

Ratings monitor Nielsen Media Research said 7.9 million of the telecast's viewers were aged 25 to 54, the key advertising demographic.

By comparison, the first Republican debate of the 2012 primary season averaged 3.3 million viewers.

Read more at ABC News Online


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