Fox News Debate Draws Nearly 17 Million Viewers

The Republican presidential debates continue to score big ratings for Fox News Channel.

Last night’s debate from Detroit pulled in 16.9 million viewers according to early Nielsen ratings, behind only Fox News’ record-setting Aug. 6 debate telecast which drew 24 million viewers. Overall, the debate is currently the fourth most-watched Republican debate so far during the 2016 political season.

The debate, moderated by Bret Baier, Megyn Kelly and Chris Wallace and featured some heated rhetoric mostly from presidential candidates Donald Trump, Maro Rubio and Ted Cruz, also drew 5.5 million viewers in the adult 25-54 demo.

A special post-debate The O'Reilly Factor last night (11 p.m.-12 a.m.) delivered 7.4 million viewers, marking the show’s highest-rated telecast of the year.

The debate was also a hit on social media, generating 2.3 million tweets reaching a unique audience of 8.6 million Twitter 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.