An average of 51.4 million viewers tuned in to watch the
only debate between Vice President Joe Biden and Republican nominee Rep. Paul
Ryan on Thursday, according to Nielsen.
The audience was down 27% from the nearly 70 million people who
watched the debate between Biden and Gov. Sarah Palin in 2008. Besides that
meeting, Thursday's debate was the most-watched Vice Presidential debate since
George H.W. Bush and Geraldine Ferraro in 1984, which drew 56.7 million
The debate, which ran from approximately 9-10:30 p.m. ET was
carried across 12 networks: ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, Telemundo, Univision, CNBC,
Current TV, Fox news and MSNBC.
On broadcast, CBS was the preferred network by a slight margin, drawing 8.31 million total viewers to second-place ABC's 8.29 million viewers. NBC was the third most-watched broadcaster with 7.85 million viewers. On cable, Fox News led the pack with 10.01 million total viewers, MSNBC was second with 4.4 million viewers and CNN came in third with 4.18 million viewers.