Republican presidential hopefuls (L-R), Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee , Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, real estate magnate Donald Trump, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, and former CEO Carly Fiorina, listen as retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson (C) speaks during the Presidential debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., on Sept. 16, 2015.
Frederic J. Brown—AFP/Getty Images
By Tessa Berenson
September 17, 2015

Nearly 23 million people tuned in to Wednesday night’s primetime GOP debate, breaking viewership records for host network CNN.

In fact, it shattered the records – according to CNN, the previous record-holder for viewership was a Larry King Live episode from 1993 with Al Gore and Ross Perot debating NAFTA. That episode clocked in at 16.8 million viewers. For an even starker comparison, CNN’s most-watched presidential primary debate before Wednesday was a Democratic debate in 2008, which got just 8.3 million viewers.

The CNN debate didn’t quite reach the viewership for the Fox debate in August, which averaged 24 million viewers.

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