78.6 Mil Watched Prime-Time Election Coverage

Nov 5, 2008  •  Post A Comment

An estimated 78.58 million people watched prime-time coverage of the historic election on 14 broadcast and cable networks Tuesday night, according to final national averages from Nielsen Media Research. That’s a dramatic increase from the 59.17 million who watched Election Night on 10 networks in 2004.
From 8 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., by which time President-elect Barack Obama had made his acceptance speech, an estimated average audience of 78.24 million watched the coverage.
CNN was the most-watched of all measured cable and broadcast networks covering the election from 8 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. with an average 13.30 million viewers, a record for the 28-year-old cable news network.
ABC, which was the most-watched of all the broadcast and cable networks in prime time, with an average 13.13 million total viewers, was second for the extended evening with an average 12.53 million viewers.
NBC ranked third for the extended coverage with an average of 11.91 million viewers.
Fourth was Spanish-language Telemundo, with a four-and-a-half-hour average of 8.47 million viewers.
Fox News Channel averaged 8.06 million viewers, followed by CBS (7.49 million viewers), MSNBC (6.36 million), Fox Broadcasting (4.66 million), Spanish-language Univision (4.01 million), BET (547,000 viewers), CNBC (547,000), CNBC (415,000), BBC America (231,000), WGN America (163,000) and TVOne (110,000).
From 11 p.m. to 1 a.m., which included the official call that Sen. Obama had amassed the requisite 270 electoral college votes to win the long race for the White House as well as Sen. John McCain’s concession speech as well as the Obama speech, CNN led the cable news race with 13.7 million total viewers, followed by MSNBC with 6.57 million viewers and Fox News Channel with 5.39 million viewers.


  1. Spanish-language networks garnered 16% of prime time Election Night viewership – that’s a substantial number…the Spanish dominant/preferred segment of the Hispanic market took great interest in this election…congrats to Telemundo and Univision for providing insight into issues of importance to our market!

  2. Yea congrats Telemundo you show how things are done. You had the lates updates even before that Univision which they need to learn to be bias. Keep it up Telemundo and NBC

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