The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

24 million people watched the Trump debate. That’s a record — by a lot.

On Thursday, a few hours before the first Republican primary debate, we wondered whether or not the expected audience for the Fox News event could possibly break the all-time cable viewership record, held by last year's "Walking Dead" premiere.

We created this graph, looking at how previous primary debates had rated, and grafted Donald Trump onto the highest-rated of those affairs like a beautiful yellow mane of hair. Combine the two, we figured, and it could be done.

Little did we know.

According to Nielsen, as reported by Capital New York, the debate had 24 million people watching. That's an increase of nearly 40 percent.

To revisit a joke we made in our first article: The "Walking Dead" example should have shown us that watching awkward fights between heavily-made-up humanoids was popular cable TV fare.