1:17pm PT by Marisa Guthrie
CNN Tops Cable News Competition with Republican Debate
CNN topped the cable news competition Monday night with the Republican debate; 3.6 million viewers watched the presidential aspirants face-off from 8-10 p.m. ET, in what CNN billed as a Tea Party Express debate.
The network beat out perennial cable news leader Fox News Channel, which averaged 1.9 million viewers from 8-10 p.m. CNN also beat FNC in news' target demographic of 25-54-year-olds, 1.1 million viewers compared to 370,000.
The debate marked round two of the face-off between frontrunners Mitt Romney and Rick Perry. Perry's first appearance at a Republican debate last week is still the political season's high-water mark with 5.4 million viewers watching MSNBC's debate on Sept. 7.
Wolf Blitzer moderated CNN's Tea Party debate - which had stiff competition from the opening game of ESPN's Monday Night Football and the men's finals of U.S. Open tennis - was up double digits over CNN's GOP debate last June.