Whether it was the presence of Donald Trump or interest in other candidates, the first GOP presidential primary debate was a huge success in the ratings.
Neilson overnight ratings indicate 16 percent of households who had their TV on Thursday night were tuned in to Fox News to watch the GOP top 10 scrap.
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) August 7, 2015
Overnight estimates can be adjusted as the calculations are completed by Neilson, but preliminary reports indicate 24 million Americans watched.
In contrast, the first GOP debate in 2011 only drew an audience of 3.2 million.