Fast National Numbers from Nielsen moved the needle upward from the preliminary numbers we reported earlier, much to the benefit of the broadcast news organizations. All told 63.5 million Americans watched the debate last night on ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, Univision and Telemundo.
Update: Nielsen now says that 67.2 million people watched the debates on the rated TV networks, the most for the first debate since 1980. That number does not include viewers watching online, or on unrated networks like C-SPAN.
In the latest debate ratings, ABC was the most-watched network during the debate, followed by NBC and CBS, with Fox News Channel fourth.
9-10:30 PM Debate:
ABC: 11.25 million total viewers
NBC: 11.07 million total viewers
CBS: 10.58 million total viewers
Fox: 6.89 million total viewers
10:30-11 PM Post-debate:
ABC: 8.86 million total viewers
NBC: 8.72 million total viewers
CBS: 7.01 million total viewers
2.6 million viewers watched the debate on Univision, and 248,000 on Telemundo.