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Caitlyn Jenner boosts ESPY Award ratings to record high

Caitlyn Jenner's appearance on the 2015 ESPY Awards gave the annual ceremony its best ratings.

According to Nielsen data, an average of 7.7-million viewers watched the event broadcast Wednesday on ABC for the first time. Previous airings were on ESPN, where the ESPY Awards averaged 2.2-million viewers in 2014.

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As expected, the audience grew for the final hour of the three-hour event when Olympic medal winner Jenner, making her first major public appearance since transitioning into a woman, was honored with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. An audience of 8.5-million viewers watched Jenner's appearance, a bump of 1.9 million over the first hour of the program.

The ESPY Awards ranked as the top program of the night and the largest summer audience for ABC since 2005. ABC topped its nearest competitor, CBS, by 51%. In the advertiser-coveted demographic of 18- to 49-year-olds, the ESPYs averaged a 2.2 rating, which also led the night.

The ESPYs ceremony also was the leading TV topic on Twitter with 1.23-million tweets.

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