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Vice-Presidential Debate Gets Strong Ratings

Oct 6, 2004  •  Post A Comment

More than 43.6 million people tuned in to ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox News Channel and MSNBC to see Tuesday’s live televised debate between Vice President Dick Cheney and Democratic challenger John Edwards, according to data from Nielsen Media Research.

Tuesday’s audience was down from the estimated 62.5 million who watched the first of three presidential debates Thursday, Sept. 30, and a dramatic increase over the 29.1 million who tuned in to the 2000 vice-presidential debate carried live on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News Channel. As in 2000, Fox Broadcasting was committed to major league baseball playoff coverage and did not offer the debate live.

NBC drew the biggest audience Tuesday with 11.5 million during the 101-minute debate itself and 9.77 million for the post-debate analysis. Fox News Channel was the top cable news draw with 7.8 million for the debate and 5.6 million viewers for the analysis immediately afterward.

ABC drew 10.3 million for the debate and 8.8 million for the analysis, while CBS was the choice of 9.2 million for the debate and 7.7 million for the analysis.

CNN attracted 3.3 million viewers for the debate and 3.5 million for analysis. On MSNBC, the debate was seen by 1.5 million people, and the analysis immediately after drew 1.7 million.

The second of the three presidential debates, moderated by “Good Morning America’s” Charles Gibson, is set for 9 p.m. (ET) Friday at Washington University.