- Associated Press - Monday, March 7, 2016

NEW YORK (AP) - CNN reached 5.5 million with Sunday night’s presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, up from the last two Democratic contests but less than half of the audience for last week’s Republican contest.

Although the first Clinton-Sanders contest reached 15.8 million people last fall, last month’s debates on CNN and MSNBC both slipped below 5 million in viewership, the Nielsen company said.

From a television standpoint, the Republican encounters have been much more anticipated. Nielsen said nearly 17 million watched the remaining GOP candidates on Fox News Channel last Thursday.

Sunday’s event competed against a busy Sunday evening of television, including “The Walking Dead” and the series finale of PBS’ “Downton Abbey.”

CNN said its new Kevin Spacey-narrated series about past presidential campaigns, “Race For the White House,” had 2.6 million viewers, making it the network’s most-watched premiere ever for an original series.

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