Fox Rocks With Raucous Detroit Debate

While there has been Friday morning quarterbacking on who won the GOP presidential debate Thursday night, including some suggesting it was tough-as-nails moderator Megyn Kelly, one clear winner was Fox News Channel.

According to early Nielsen numbers, FNC's raucous debate drew 16.9 million viewers. That makes it the highest rated debate of 2016, FNC said. It was also the highest-rated of the year in the key 25-54 news demo.

The debate featured heated exchanges, many between Trump and Kelly, as well as Trump's defense of his manhood in the wake of Marco Rubio's "small hands" insult.

On the online side, the debate had 2.4 million video starts and topped off at 1,489,937 concurrent streams, according to Omniture and Akamai. Fox News says that made it the most live-streamed primary debate ever.

Moderator Bret Baier, who was featured on Instagram, got nearly 430,000 likes.

It was also the second-highest rated telecast in the history of FNC (almost 20 years), second only to the Aug. 6 GOP debate, also moderated by Baier, Kelly and Chris Wallace.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.