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The first of the three presidential debates between Democrat ex-Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Republican Donald Trump attracted as many as 84 million U.S. TV viewers, making it the most-viewed presidential debate in the history of the U.S. Notably, on Oct 28, 1980, the debate between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan had attracted 80.6 million viewers.

CBS Corporation’s (CBS - Analyst Report) leading network averaged 12.1 million viewers for the coverage of the debate. However, CBS fell behind its competitors Comcast Corporation’s (CMCSA - Analyst Report) NBC and The Walt Disney Company’s (DIS - Analyst Report) ABC. The face-off between the two presidential candidates for the 58th quadrennial U.S. presidential election was watched by 18.2 million viewers on NBC and 13.5 million viewers on ABC.

Nevertheless, CBS edged past other cable-TV networks like Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc.’s (FOXA - Analyst Report) Fox News Channel and Time Warner Inc.’s (TWX - Analyst Report) CNN that attracted a viewership of 11.4 million and 9.8 million, respectively.

Hillary Clinton had an edge over Donald Trump during the first presidential debate which took place at Hofstra University on Sep 26. This was indicated by early focus groups and polls, emphasizing the manner in which Clinton put across her views on a wide array of subjects. The two candidates discussed several issues, including defense and the economy before the debate took on a more personal tone.

During such a high-octane face-off the ad rates are generally very high during pre and post-debate analysis. The 90 minutes debate was ad-free. In an effort, to attract larger viewers TV networks had promoted the face-off for days beforehand. As per sources, for a 30-second advertisement during its post-debate coverage CBS charged between $200,000 to $225,000.

The next two debates will be held on Oct 9 and 19. Now, it is to be seen whether or not the record viewership of 84 million during the first debate is broken again.

CBS currently has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 (Strong Buy) Rank stocks here.

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