Republican debate is a ratings smash hit

Mekeisha Madden Toby
Special to The Detroit News

One clear winner emerged from the GOP debate: CNN.

The televised event, which aired for three hours Wednesday night, drew 22.9 million viewers, giving CNN its highest ratings in network history. The debate also broke live stream records with 4.5 million video streams via CNNgo.

In Metro Detroit, the debate pulled in an impressive 10.5 rating with 192,324 households tuning in making it the most watched program of the night locally.

While this is a milestone for CNN, the numbers fell just short of the 24 million viewers Fox News pulled in when it aired the Republican debate in August.

CNN hasn’t enjoyed these kinds of ratings highs for a political debate since 2008 when President Barack Obama and other Democrats made a run for the White House. That debate drew 8.3 million viewers. In 2012, the Republican debate on CNN drew 3.16 million viewers.

Before Wednesday night, the highest-rated program on CNN was a 1993 “Larry King Live” special featuring Al Gore and Ross Perot, which attracted 16.8 million viewers.

Time will tell if Republican hopeful Donald Trump is the reason why ratings have been so high when CNN airs the upcoming Democratic debate Oct. 13.

Mekeisha Madden Toby is a Los Angeles based TV critic and entertainment reporter.