Republican debate: Best ratings of 2016

The debate averaged a 9.3 household rating between 8:15 p.m. and 10:45 p.m. in Nielsen’s so-called metered markets.

The debate on Fox Business Network (a cable channel that is harder to find than ABC) had a 7.4 rating in mid January. The debate on Fox News Channel two weeks later — the one Donald Trump skipped — had an 8.4 rating.

Trump’s presence on stage Saturday night may have lifted ABC. The network also benefited from enviable timing, three days before the New Hampshire primaries, with all the major candidates fiercely fighting for votes.

According to an ABC source, the debate ratings rose each half hour, indicating that viewers stuck with the program despite an embarrassing flub during the candidate introductions.