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Fox News Republican debate shattered records with 24 million viewers

Ratings this high are usually reserved for the NFL

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

America's fascination with Donald Trump's presidential campaign is very real; 24 million people tuned into the first GOP debate on Fox News last night. That sort of incredible viewership is usually reserved for NFL games and is a massive win for Fox. It's the highest rated broadcast that's ever aired on Fox News, the most successful primary debate of all time, and is likely to end up the highest rated non-sports cable broadcast ever. (The Super Bowl and popular awards shows, which air on television networks instead of cable, draw higher ratings.)

Fox News didn't make the event easy to watch for cord cutters. There was no official, open-to-all stream from the right-leaning cable channel, and despite successfully streaming most of the evening's discussion on YouTube, Sky News was eventually shut down with a DMCA takedown. If you were without cable, Periscope and other live streaming apps were the only real avenues for watching — and clearly most people stuck with traditional, tried and true TV.

Seeing the success its rival network is currently reveling in, CNN has already begun heavily advertising the second GOP debate scheduled for September 16th. Like Fox News, CNN requires a cable subscription to stream live broadcasts as they air.