NBC followed up its ratings victory in the first presidential debate by taking top Nielsen Media Research marks for Tuesday night’s debate between Vice President Dick Cheney and Democratic nominee Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.).
During the 101-minute debate, 11.5 million viewers tuned into NBC News. ABC News attracted 10.3 million viewers.CBS posted 9.2 million viewers, even though its lead-in, Navy NCIS, delivered it the most viewers.
Fox carried the Yankees/Twins playoff game instead, grabbing 8.5 million viewers and a 3.2 in 18-49. That was 21% less than its Cubs/Braves coverage on the comparable night last year, however.
On cable, Fox News Channel grabbed the largest audience with a whopping 7.8 million viewers, while CNN notched 3.3 million viewers and MSNBC trailed with 1.5 million viewers. FNC's number would actually be higher if the viewers to Fox's UPN stations was counted in. Fox preempted the netlet to carry the debate in seven major, markets including the nation's top three.
Following the debate, NBC News retained the largest audience for its analysis with 9.8 million viewers. ABC News garnered 8.8 million viewers and CBS’ posted 7.7 million viewers. Fox News tallied 5.6 million viewers. CNN’s audience grew post-debate to 3.53 million viewers.