Fox News Shatters Cable News Record With GOP Debate

The Donald Trump show draws 24 million

Donald Trump may not be appreciating Fox News today, but Fox News sure has Trump to thank for giving the network its most-watched program ever.

In fact last night's GOP debate, airing from 9 p.m. ET to just past 11 p.m. ET, is now the most-watched non-sports show ever on cable TV. It marks the biggest audience for cable news and for Fox News.

The debate averaged 24 million viewers and 7.9 million in the key demographic of adults ages 25 to 54, the one advertisers look at when buying time on news programs, according to Nielsen.

Moderated by Bret Baier, Megyn Kelly and Chris Wallace, the viewership shattered that of all other primary debates on cable or broadcast TV. The most-watched debate in the 2012 cycle was ABC's coverage of the Dec. 10, 2011 face-off, which drew 7.63 million. The most-watched GOP debate of the 2008 cycle, also on ABC, was watched by 7.350 million.

The debate eclipses the most-watched TV show of the 2014-2015 season—that would be The Big Bang Theory, which averaged 21.3 million viewers last season.

The debate drove significant interaction on social media. It was the No. 1 event on Twitter last night with 3.3 million tweets and 393 million impressions. Fox News' Facebook page saw 1.4  million interactions, up 74 percent from the daily average in July.

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