Inaugural ratings: Reagan is the guy to beat

Reagan-1981 copy

Nielsen, which is AdFreak's corporate parent and therefore infallible, has charted presidential inauguration TV ratings since 1969. Ronald Reagan's 1981 swearing-in got the most viewers during that time—nearly 42 million. Well, he was an actor, after all, and knew how to put on a good show for the cameras. George W. Bush's second inaugural, in 2005, when he was perhaps already viewed as a lame duck, fared worst by far, with 15.5 million TV viewers. The only two-termer to post better numbers the second time around: Richard Nixon in 1973. In the Watergate era, people probably tuned in because they couldn't believe they'd re-elected the guy. Will Barack Obama set a new mark today? Duh!

—Posted by David Gianatasio