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First night of CNN Democratic debate draws 8.7M viewers

CNN's broadcast of the Democratic debates on Tuesday night attracted 8.7 million viewers, according to final ratings compiled by Nielsen Media Research.

Another 2.8 million people watched via the CNN Digital live stream, according to CNN.

The first of two debates from Detroit was watched by approximately 7 million fewer people than the June 26 debate broadcast by NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo, which attracted 15.3 million viewers for the broadcast from Miami.

The cable news network faced formidable competition from ABC's "The Bachelorette," which aired its finale on Tuesday night. NBC also offered up a new episode of "America's Got Talent," which has rated well over the years since its start in 2006.

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CNN will likely see an uptick in viewership on Wednesday night, which was the case with NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo last month for its second of two debates.

Wednesday night's event from the Fox Theatre in the Motor City will feature 2020 Democratic front-runner Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBudowsky: A Biden-McConnell state of emergency summit DC might win US House vote if it tries Inaugural poet Amanda Gorman inks deal with IMG Models MORE in an anticipated rematch with Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisInaugural poet Amanda Gorman inks deal with IMG Models Overnight Defense: Biden lifts Trump's transgender military ban | Democrats, advocates celebrate end of ban | 5,000 guardsmen staying in DC through mid-March The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - GOP senator retires MORE (D-Calif.), who hammered Biden in Miami one month ago, winning praise from critics as the winner of the night.

But Biden still holds a commanding lead in the RealClearPolitics index of polls with 32.2 percent support.

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersTim Ryan says he's 'looking seriously' at running for Portman's Senate seat Bernie Sanders has been most-followed member of Congress on social media for six years This week: Senate stuck in limbo MORE (I-Vt.) is second with 16.2 percent, followed by Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenTim Ryan says he's 'looking seriously' at running for Portman's Senate seat Leahy, not Roberts, to preside over impeachment trial Skepticism reigns as Biden, McConnell begin new era MORE (D-Mass.) with 14.3 percent. Harris is fourth with 11 percent support.

--This report was updated at 2:20 p.m.