Second GOP Debate Sets Ratings Record for CNN

Posted: Sep 17, 2015 2:00 PM

It’s not often you might find CNN thanking the GOP, but after giving the network record ratings Wednesday night during the debate, they just may.

Wednesday’s GOP debate appears to be the highest-rated event in CNN’s history, according to preliminary Nielsen ratings.

The prime time debate averaged a 14.7 household rating, indicating that 1 in 7 American homes with TVs tuned in. […]

The overnight ratings estimates are subject to adjustments. But the 14.7 rating is likely to translate to 20-plus million viewers once final viewership figures come out Thursday afternoon.

Fox’s GOP debate last month received a 16.0 preliminary rating the next morning. That number later extrapolated to 24 million live viewers. (Another 1.1 million viewers watched via DVRs).

CNN notes that these figures are “NFL-level ratings”—no small feat for a Republican presidential debate, for sure. 

Prior to last night, the network’s highest viewed show was a special “Larry King Live” episode featuring Al Gore and Ross Perot debating NAFTA. That program had roughly 16.8 million viewers.