Fox News, NBC lead in final debate Nielsen overnight numbers

The Fox News Channel achieved it highest ratings ever Monday night during the final presidential debate between President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

Although the overall ratings weren’t quite as strong as last week’s debate ratings — ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” and Game 7 of the National League Championship Series on the FOX broadcast network both drew viewers away — the Fox News Channel was able obtain it’s highest rated telecast in the network’s 16-year history with last night’s debate.

Leading all the cables, FNC pulled in nearly 11.5 million viewers, up from its previous high of 11.1 million viewers in last week’s debate and the 2008 vice-presidential debate between then-Delaware Democratic Sen. Joe Biden and then-Alaska Republican Gov. Sarah Palin.

FNC’s 11.5 million was also competitive with its broadcast competition, which was won by NBC with 12.4 million viewers, down from last week’s debate when NBC drew 13.8 million. NBC narrowly edged out ABC’s 11.7 million viewers, followed by CBS in a distant third-place with only 8.4 million.

9:00-10:30PM (debate coverage)

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)

8:00-11:00PM (primetime coverage)

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)

Broadcast Fast Nationals 9-10:39PM:

NBC: 12,391,341 in P2+ (5,839,648)
ABC: 11,730,247 in P2+ (4,361,952)
CBS: 8,437,098 in P2+ (3,564,135)


Remarkably, Fox News’ telecast had outpaced Monday night’s two significant sporting events, Game 7 of the Major League Baseball National League Championship Series between the San Francisco Giants and the St. Louis Cardinals, and the NFL’s ESPN “Monday Night Football” game between the Detroit Lions and the Chicago Bears.

Monday, October 22nd

FNC Presidential Debate: 11,472,000 in P2+, (3,432,000 in 25-54)
FOX MLB Game 7: 8,100,000 in P2+, (3,363,000 in 25-54)
ESPN NFL Monday Night Football: 10,664,000 (5,772,000 in 25-54)

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