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2016 Presidential Debates

Monday’s 2016 Presidential Debate Was Most Watched Ever

Over 80,000,000 People, a New Record, Watch Fiery Trump-Clinton Debate 2:29

More than 84 million viewers tuned in to the historic showdown between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, making it the most viewed political event in history, according to The Nielsen Company, which tracks television ratings.

The showdown between Clinton and Trump toppled the previous debate viewership record set during the 1980 contest between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. That debate drew 80.6 million viewers. It was also the only debate between the two candidates during the election.

Monday night's debate also generated 17.1 million Twitter interactions from 2.7 million people in the United States, according to Nielsen.

Related: Fact Check 2016: Tall Tales From the Trail

The ratings monitor also found that ad-supported networks accounted for 81 million total viewers, with PBS affiliates accounting for the remainder.

For broadcast networks, NBC averaged 18.2 million viewers for coverage of the Clinton-Trump debate, followed by ABC with 13.5 million, CBS with 12.1 million, and Fox with 5 million.

On cable, Fox News drew 11.4 million total viewers, followed by CNN with 9.8 million, MSNBC with 4.9 million, Fox Business with 673,000, and CNBC with 520,000. Univision averaged 2.5 million for its debate coverage, and Telemundo averaged 1.8 million.

Image: US-VOTE-DEBATE
Hillary Clinton supporters watch the debate in Denver, Colorado. JASON CONNOLLY / AFP - Getty Images