Fox Business scores ratings record

More than 13 million people watched Tuesday night's Republican debate on the Fox Business Network, according to Nielsen figures provided by the network.

The prime-time debate drew 13.5 million viewers, making it the highest-rated program in the network's eight-year history. That's just shy of the 14 million for the CNBC debate Oct. 28. 

Fox Business, which reaches 11 million fewer homes across the country than CNBC, also said that there were more than 1.4 million concurrent livestreams of its prime-time debate. That number is comparable to the streams for this year's Super Bowl. The CNBC debate was on at the same time as Game 2 of the World Series.

ADVERTISEMENT

The early debate for four lower-polling candidates aired by Fox Business, however, garnered 4.7 million viewers, much more than CNBC's equivalent, which drew 1.6 million viewers. The latest undercard event included New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who were in the prime-time event at the first three debates.

Ratings for the last two debates on the business networks were smaller than the August and September debates on Fox News and CNN, which drew about 24 million and 23 million viewers, respectively.

Still, the GOP presidential debates have in general been a ratings bonanza for networks.

Tuesday's debate represented the smallest main stage yet, with eight candidates, including front-runner Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpUSPS warns Pennsylvania mail-in ballots may not be delivered in time to be counted Michael Cohen book accuses Trump of corruption, fraud Trump requests mail-in ballot for Florida congressional primary MORE, in the two-hour, prime-time event.

While Trump remained center stage at Tuesday night's debate based on his high polling figures, several other candidates sparred for attention, including Sens. Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Ted Cruz (Texas).

Republicans lauded Fox Business moderators for their handling of the debate, after party officials and many candidates ripped CNBC for "gotcha" questions in last month's debate.

— This report was updated at 4:40 p.m.