Some 80.9 million Americans watched the first, raucous, U.S. presidential debate between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump on television, smashing a decades old record for such events, CNN said on Tuesday.
The figure includes the approximately 45 million who watched the 90-minute debate on the four main TV networks, as well as millions more who watched cable channels, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News and other smaller outlets, CNN said.
If confirmed, the audience, due to be finalised later on Tuesday, beat the 80.6 million record set by the Jimmy Carter-Ronald Reagan TV presidential debate in 1980 but fell short of the 100 million viewers some analysts had predicted for the face-off.
That 80 election was a sea change as well. The malaise of the Carter years (with Islamic terror/race riots) vs. the optimism of the Regan decade. I guess we have the malaise of the Obama years (with Islamic terror/race riots) vs. the optimism/fear-mongering of Trump. History sure rhymes sometimes.