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Debate ratings landslide: 84 million viewers set record

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TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images

It’s a ratings landslide!

Monday night’s showdown between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton is offically the Most-Watched Debate Ever. 

Across more than a dozen networks, Monday night’s 90-minute debate was watched by an estimated 84 million viewers across 13 networks to set a new record, according to Nielsen. 

That number tops 1980’s Ronald Reagan vs. Jimmy Carter debate, the previous record, which hit 81 million viewers back when there were only three TV networks. 

The performance easily beat the Mitt Romney vs. Barack Obama debate four years ago, which had 67 million viewers. 

NBC’s coverage led the pack, generating 18 million viewers (NBC’s own Lester Holt also moderated the debate).

On the cable side, Fox News topped rivals with 11.4 million. 

There were also 17.1 million Twitter interactions from 2.7 million people in the U.S. related to the “Presidential Debate” last night.

The official tally falls short, however, of the Super Bowl-level 100 million viewer estimate that some prognosticators made in the lead-up to the debate. Facing ESPN’s Monday Night Football was probably one headwind factor. Another was streaming, as millions more watched the debate online.

See EW’s seven hardest punches highlights from the debate.

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