CNN breaks ratings record with GOP debate
CNN’s primetime GOP debate on Wednesday was the most-watched program in network history, according to CNN Money.
Nearly 23 million people tuned in to the three-hour debate, easily surpassing the network’s previous pinnacle of 16.8 million viewers, a broadcast of “Larry King Live” in 1993.
CNN’s most-watched presidential primary debate, in 2008, drew 8.3 million viewers.
CNN anticipated the ratings bonanza, selling ad spots during the debate at a rate more than 40 times their normal fare.
Donald Trump, who participated in the debate, took credit for the surplus and sent a letter to CNN President Jeff Zucker calling on him to donate proceeds from the debate to charity.
He attributed the increase in viewers to his presence on the debate stage.
Just announced that in the history of @CNN, last night’s debate was its highest rated ever. Will they send me flowers & a thank you note?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 17, 2015
The second debate was not as highly rated as the first one hosted by Fox News last month, which drew 24 million viewers and was the most-watched cable news program in history.
CNN bested Fox News in early debate coverage with 6.3 million viewers, compared to Fox News’s 6.1 million.