Fox News drew more than 12.8 million viewers in its coverage of the first 2024 Republican presidential debate.

The figure is the combined audience for Fox News and Fox Business Network, per Nielsen.

The number also is well above expectations given the absence of Donald Trump from the stage. Some analysts had predicted an audience in the range of 5 million.

In the 25-54 demo, Fox News drew 2.82 million.

Trump counter-programmed the debate, appearing in a pre-taped sit down interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson. Trump touted that interview as drawing more than 100 million views. That figure had risen to 235 million by Thursday afternoon. But it is not an apples-to-apples comparison of ratings. Twitter/X counts even a second-long glance as a view, meaning that the figure is measuring even those who scroll past the Tucker Carlson post. “Anyone who is logged into Twitter who views a Tweet counts as a view, regardless of where they see the Tweet (e.g. Home, Search, Profiles, etc.) or whether or not they follow the author,” Twitter/X explains.

Fox News drew 24 million viewers for its coverage of the first GOP presidential debate in 2015, a blockbuster figure that was attributed in part to Trump’s presence amid a field of establishment Republican contenders.

More to come.


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