MSNBC aired the Republican presidential debate on Wednesday night, drawing a total 5.4 million viewers to become the highest-rated Republican debate in 2011.
The GOP debate -- which was the first to feature Texas Gov. Rick Perry -- delivered 1.7 million in the key adults 25 to 54 demo, according to Nielsen data, outranking three earlier Republican debates. After the debate, MSNBC's team analysis drew 817,000 viewers in the demo and 2.7 million total viewers.
Earlier last week, conflict surrounded the debate as President Obama announced his intention to speak to Congress on the same night; the speech was subsequently moved to Friday.
A Tea Party debate is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 12 to air on CNN.