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Debate Ratings Update: Fewer Viewers, But NBC Audience Grows

Oct 16, 2008  •  Post A Comment

While preliminary data indicates that television turnout for the final of presidential campaign debate declined from the last matchup between Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain, NBC may have performed best among the broadcast networks airing the contest, according to fast affiliate ratings from Nielsen Media Research.
Debate
Adjustments for time zones will change the numbers when final national ratings are released later today, but the latest numbers showed NBC in the lead with an average 9.9 million viewers for the two hours that included the 90-minute debate followed by analysis.
ABC, which has drawn the biggest audience for the first two presidential debates and the lone vice presidential debate, averaged 9.3 million viewers Wednesday night. CBS averaged 8.4 million viewers.
Only NBC’s fast affiliates average is up from the Oct. 7 presidential debate.
All three debate telecasts (For Broadcasting carried baseball) grew off their entertainment lead-ins.
The second half-hour of NBC’s “Knight Rider” (8.3 million) was the strongest of the three lead-ins for the debate, and the network added 3 million viewers for the political contest.
CBS’s “Gary Unmarried” delivered 7.7 million viewers for CBS and the debate added some 1.2 million to that audience. ABC’s “Pushing Daisies” produced a lead-in of 6.3 million viewers and the network added 3.3 million for the debate.
National cable data also will be released Thursday afternoon.
Meanwhile, Nielsen said the overall household rating for the debate in 55 metered overnight markets was a 38.3–meaning 38.3 percent of the TV homes in those markets were watching. That was down from the second debate’s 42.1 rating in the overnights, but up from the first presidential event’s 34.7.
Nielsen said the ratings were affected to some degree by Fox’s broadcast of Game 5 of the National League Championship series between Los Angeles and Philadelphia, two of the four biggest TV markets in the country.
More details on the overnight ratings can be found at Nielsen’s blog.
(Editor: Baumann)

8 Comments

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