Fox News Has Highest Telecast Ever with Final Presidential Debate

By Chris Ariens 

NBC was the most-watched network for the final presidential debate last night with 12.391 million viewers tuning in. ABC was next with 11.730 million, according to Nielsen Fast National numbers. But the 11.474 million that watched on Fox News were enough to give the network its most-watched telecast ever. Fox News’s previous record was set in 2008 when VP nominees Gov. Sara Palin and Sen. Joe Biden debated. On that night 11.098 million watched. Fox News also topped CBS and beat the combined viewership of MSNBC and CNN.

On the three cable and three broadcast networks the debate was watched by 53.9 million people. The total will likely be down from the two previous debates when all networks are added up. The candidates faced stiff competition from Monday Night Football on ESPN (10.66 million viewers) and Game 7 of the NLCS on FOX (8.1 million viewers).

  • Broadcast Fast Nationals 9-10:34pm:

NBC: 12,391,341 in total viewers / 5,839,648 in 25-54
ABC: 11,730,247 in total viewers / 4,361,952 in 25-54
CBS: 8,437,098 in total viewers / 3,564,135 in 25-54

  • Broadcast post-Debate analysis 10:34-11pm

NBC: 9.327 million total viewers / 3.6 rating in 25-54
ABC: 8.052 million total viewers /2.6 rating in 25-54
CBS: 6.167 million total viewers / 2.3 rating in 25-54

  • Cable coverage 9:00-10:30pm:

FNC: 11,474,835 in total viewers  /3,433,142 in 25-54
CNN: 5,808,405 in total viewers  /2,475,772 in 25-54
MSNBC: 4,063,673 in total viewers / 1,701,793 in 25-54

  • Cable primetime 8:00-11:00pm

FNC: 9,068,124 in total viewers / 2,586,259 in 25-54
CNN: 4,374,775 in total viewers / 1,833,421 in 25-54
MSNBC: 3,295,125 in total viewers / 1,345,369 in 25-54

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