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3 YEARS

CNN Tops Cable News Competition with Republican Debate

Round two of the Mitt Romney/Rick Perry face-off is watched by 3.6 million viewers.

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.