The Republican presidential debate was the most-watched debate in history

The first Republican presidential debate is shaping up to be the most-watched primary debate in history.

The New York Daily News reports that early Nielsen numbers reveal that the debate earned a 16.0 or a total of 16% of U.S. homes with a television were tuned into the debate on Fox News.

According to the newspaper, CNN reported that the highest-rated Republican primary debates in 2011 and 2012 were both watched by 5% of U.S. homes with a TV.

The tripling of that number by Thursday’s debates is being attributed to Donald Trump’s participation. The real estate mogul has been leading in the polls amid several controversies.

Additionally, a Fox News representative told the paper that so many people tried to watch the debate online that the “overwhelming demand caused server issues in the debate live stream.”

Nielsen is expected to release more viewership information on Friday afternoon.

CNN and CNBC will air the next Republican presidential primary debates on September 16 and October 28, respectively.

NOW WATCH: Meet the real people who want Donald Trump to be president

NOW WATCH: Briefing videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.