"An estimated 67.2 million people watched Democratic incumbent President Barack Obama debate Republican challenger Gov. Mitt Romney in the first presidential debate on Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012," reports TVbytheNumbers.
That compares with 52.4 million people who watched the first presidential debate four years ago between candidates Barack Obama and John McCain.
The 12 networks that aired the first debate this year were ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, TEL, UNI, PBS, CNN, FOXNC, MSNBC, CurrentTV and CNBC. The 11 networks that aired the first debate in 2008 were ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, Telefutura, Telemundo, BBC-America, CNBC, CNN, FOX News, MSNBC.
Separately, among the big three broadcast networks, according to Nielsen’s Fast National ratings, ABC had 11.2 million total viewers watching this year’s first presidential debate, NBC had 11.0 million viewers, and CBS 10.5 million viewers.
Four years ago the big three were in the order, with ABC drawing 8.8 million total viewers, NBC had 8.7 million viewers, and CBS had 7.0 million viewers.