CNN GOP Debate Telecast Nets 22.9 Million Viewers

The GOP Presidential debates continue to rack up record ratings for cable news networks.

CNN’s Wednesday night telecast of the second Republican Presidential Debate drew 22.9 million viewers, a record audience for the 24-hour news network, according to Nielsen Fast National ratings data.

The debate, which featured 11 GOP presidential candidates including front-runner Donald Trump,  beat out the former record of 16.8 million viewers generated by a November 1993 Larry King Live special featuring Ross Perot and Al Gore. CNN’s higest rated presidential debate was the Jan. 2008 California Democratic Debate which averaged 8.3 million viewers, according to the network.

CNN’s debate audience fell short of Fox News’ Aug. 6 telecast of the first Republican Presidential Debate, which drew 23.9 million viewers – a cable viewership record for a non-sports event.

The debate was a major hit on social media, drawing 2.4 million tweets and reaching a unique Twitter audience of more than 9 million users, according to Nielsen Twitter TV Ratings.

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.