An average of 59.2 million viewers watched the third and
final presidential debate between President Barack Obama and Republican
challenger Mitt Romney on Monday, according to Nielsen.
The foreign-policy debate, which aired live on 10 networks
from approximately 9-10:30 p.m., was
down 10% from the second debate this cycle. However, it was up 5% from
2008's third presidential debate between Obama and Sen. John McCain.
It should be noted that Monday's debate faced stiff
competition from both ESPN's Monday Night Football (10.7 million viewers)
and Fox's coverage of Game 7 of the National League Championship Series, which
drew 8.1 million viewers.
NBC led the broadcast networks with 12.4 million total
viewers, followed by ABC (11.7 million) and CBS (8.4 million). Over on the
cable networks, Fox
News set a network record with 11.5 million, followed by CNN (5.81 million)
and MSNBC (3.3 million).