Primary debate nabs cable record

CNN telecast draws 4.9 mil viewers

NEW YORK -- Monday night's Democratic presidential debate on CNN was the most-watched primary debate in cable TV history.

The two-hour debate averaged 4.9 million viewers, Nielsen Media Research said Tuesday. It also set records in many key demographics, including adults 18-49 and 25-54.

The debate topped the previous record of 4.5 million viewers, set by the CNN-You Tube GOP debate Nov. 28. Last week, the Fox News GOP debate in South Carolina averaged 3.7 million viewers.

The most-watched debates of the primary season so far are the back-to-back ones sponsored by ABC News and Facebook on Jan. 5 at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. The Democratic one, in primetime, was seen by 9.4 million viewers.

Meanwhile, MSNBC said Tuesday that it will televise a Republican presidential debate -- the last one before the Florida primary -- on Thursday. Brian Williams and Tim Russert will moderate from 9-10:30 p.m., with Chris Matthews leading the analysis afterward.
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