CNN Debate Proves a Boon to Kevin Spacey’s ‘Race for the White House’ Debut

Spacey’s docuseries is CNN’s highest-rated CNN original program

Viewers just can’t seem to get enough of Frank Underwood.

Sunday night’s CNN Democratic presidential debate was the second least-watched debate of the election cycle, but it was still a terrific lead-in for CNN’s newest original series. “Race for the White House,” narrated by Kevin Spacey

The docuseries debuted to 2.56 million total viewers and 885,000 in the key 25-54 demo immediately following the debate.

That made it the highest-rated CNN original series telecast, premiere or otherwise, of all time. Not too bad considering Spacey’s “House of Cards” returned on Friday, compelling many loyal fans to binge-watch season four of the Netflix drama.

Each episode of the six-part “Race for the White House” features archival footage, interviews and stylized dramatizations to tell the story of an iconic campaign. Sunday’s premiere chronicled the 1960 election pitting John F. Kennedy vs. Richard Nixon.

CNN talent and content development EVP Amy Entelis told TheWrap during an interview last week that the series was a pitch from the “House of Cards” star, and the network “loved the idea the minute we heard it.”

Next week’s episode will be Lincoln vs. Douglas.

“Race for the White House” airs on Sundays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CNN.