Rowdy Republican debate draws record-breaking 24 million viewers to Fox News — and melodrama
Was the first GOP debate about the candidates, or about Fox News, which presented the event on Thursday night? It could be about the network. The two-hour political extravaganza pulled in 24 million viewers according to initial Nielsen ratings numbers – breaking the all-time record for a non-sports cable event. In the 48 hours since then, the debate took on a life of its own following remarks by Donald Trump on a rival network. A good comparison here: the largest audience that any debate drew in the 2012 election was 7.6 million. Some analysts cite the draw of GOP frontrunner Mr. Trump, who indeed delivered commentary, policy and potshots with much verve – countered by a trio of determined Fox News moderators.