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Thursday Ratings: Fox News GOP Debate Is Highest-Rated In Cable News This Year

Fox News was almost universally lauded for their production of the Republican debate on Thursday night, and the amount of people who tuned in made it doubly enjoyable for the cable news network: 6.7 million viewers tuned in to watch the debate, with 1.9 million of them coming from the 25-54 year old demo. The only debate this year to beat these numbers was ABC’s last week, which pulled 7.6 million overall and 2.1 million in the demo. Keep in mind that ABC is in about 17 million more homes than Fox News.

As for collateral damage? Prepare to have your innocence shattered. [Lights, please]. The Republican debate averaged more viewers than A Charlie Brown Christmas (6.4 million viewers), which aired from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. on ABC. Charlie Brown did, however, beat the debate in the demo.

Other nuggets from Thursday night:

  • In the 6 p.m. time slot, Al Sharpton pulled in 226,000 demo viewers, while Vinnie Politan attracted 152,000.
  • Joy Behar had 106,000 demo viewers tune in for her final live show on HLN.
  • While FNC pretty much destroyed everything in sight, MSNBC had an exceptionally strong night across the board, as well, finishing second in every time slot.
  • Alternative headline for this post: Newt Gingrich Beats Up Charlie Brown
  • Here are the complete cable news ratings for Thursday night:

    TV NEWS RATINGS: 25-54 DEMOGRAPHIC (L +SD)
    Fox News CNN MSNBC CNN Headline News
    5 pm The5 

    309

    Blitzer 

    170

    Matthews 

    192

    Special 

    114

    6 pm Baier 

    402

    King, USA 

    133

    Sharpton 

    226

    Prime 

    152

    7 pm Shep 

    376

    Burnett 

    113

    Matthews 

    208

    Issues 

    122

    8 pm O’Reilly 

    846

    Cooper 

    150

    Schultz 

    183

    Grace 

    108

    9 pm Debate 

    1.908

    Piers 

    88

    Maddow 

    286

    Dr. Drew 

    83

    10 pm Debate 

    1.817

    Cooper 

    104

    O’Donnell 

    187

    Behar 

    106

    11 pm Hannity 

    951

    Burnett 

    77

    Schultz 

    101

    Showbiz 

    93

    TOTAL DAY 462 100 142 90
    PRIME TIME 1.515 114 219 100
    Data by Nielsen Media Research. Live and same day (DVR) data.
    TV NEWS RATINGS: TOTAL VIEWERS (L +SD)
    Fox News CNN MSNBC CNN Headline News
    5 pm The5 

    1,470

    Blitzer 

    702

    Matthews 

    724

    Special 

    241

    6 pm Baier 

    2,034

    King, USA 

    497

    Sharpton 

    777

    Prime
    350
    7 pm Shep 

    2,026

    Burnett 

    444

    Matthews 

    786

    Issues 

    421

    8 pm O’Reilly 

    3,863

    Cooper 

    518

    Schultz 

    859

    Grace 

    480

    9 pm Debate 

    6,881

    Piers 

    422

    Maddow 

    872

    DrDrew 

    309

    10 pm Debate 

    6,529

    Cooper 

    314

    O’Donnell
    627
    Behar 

    367

    11 pm Hannity 

    3,375

    Burnett 

    266

    Schultz
    423
    Showbiz 

    202

    TOTAL DAY 1,790 362 455 239
    PRIME TIME 5,742 418 786 384
    Data by Nielsen Media Research. Live and same day (DVR) data

    (Image credit: AP/Chris Carlson)

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