Fox News drew 12.8 million viewers during the first Republican presidential debate, the network announced Thursday.
The viewership numbers from Wednesday night reflect an interest in GOP candidates other than the current frontrunner, former President Donald Trump, but do not outpace the first GOP debate in August 2015 during Trump’s first run for the White House.
Trump, who didn’t attend Wednesday’s debate, appeared on former Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s show on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. Trump, on Truth Social, called the interview a “BLOCKBUSTER.”
Wednesday night’s debate saw over 2.8 million viewers in the 25-54 age bracket. The debate was also the highest-rated non-sports cable telecast of the year in total viewers, overtaking Paramount’s “Yellowstone,” which had 8.2 million viewers, according to Fox News.
The debate was moderated by Fox News hosts Martha MacCallum and Bret Baier.
The candidates in attendance included former Vice President Mike Pence, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson.
Viewership for this year’s first debate was far short of the first GOP debate in August 2015, which garnered 24 million viewers. That event saw Trump spar with other candidates, as well as moderator Megyn Kelly.
The next Republican presidential debate is scheduled for Sept. 27 at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., and will be shown on Fox Business.