CNN pulled in a big 22.6 million viewers on Wednesday night, according to Nielsen -- the biggest audience ever for a network for a single program episode.
This was just under the out-of-nowhere and surprising 24 million viewers that Fox scored for the first Republican debate in August.
Those initial viewing results, pushed by frank and entertaining remarks by leading Republican candidate Donald Trump, shocked many observers.
As a result, CNN priced a few 30-second commercials for its debate at a sky-high $200,000 a spot, significantly higher than the $5,000 CNN typically gets from advertisers for a 30-second regular season prime-time commercial.
Overall, CNN averaged around $115,000 for each commercial, and for the night, it pulled in around $2.5 million in national advertising according to one research source.
CNN took in 6.9 million key 25-54 news viewers for the three hour event. CNN also registered big results for the under-card, first debate featuring four other Republican candidates. That pulled in 6.3 million overall viewers.
CNN also had an additional 4.5 million video streams.