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Fox News presidential debate is a local ratings winner

The Thursday Night Fights, also known as the Republican presidential debate, landed with a big ratings bang in Western New York.

The two-hour telecast, in which Donald Trump, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz traded low blows in front of the fourth candidate, John Kasich, averaged a 12.4 rating on Fox News locally. It hit a peak of 13.2 at 9:45 p.m.

The only prime broadcast network program to be in the ball park locally Thursday was a repeat of the popular CBS comedy, “The Big Bang Theory,” which averaged a 12.3 for its half hour on Channel 4.

No other broadcast network program averaged a double-digit rating locally. The two-hour Fox network program, “American Idol,” averaged a 7.2 rating on WUTV for an episode in its farewell season.

To put the debate rating in further perspective, the highly-anticipated first NHL game Tuesday night in which Edmonton OIlers and rookie Connor McDavid played against the Buffalo Sabres and rookie Jack Eichel had an 8.6 rating on MSG. The Oilers’ 2-1 overtime victory was one of the higher-rated games this season. The Sabres’ 6-3 victory over Calgary Thursday night had a 6.4 rating on MSG.

The line of the morning came from reporter Peter Alexander on NBC’s “Today Show.” He noted there was one accusation leveled during the Republican debate that “we in the media couldn’t even fact check.”

Raise your hands if you get the joke. Hint: Alexander was alluding to a comment by front-runner Donald Trump related to the size of his hands that many analysts considered vulgar.

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