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Politics pays at NBC nets

Debate nabs 3 times more viewers for time slot

NEW YORK — Politics paid off last week for MSNBC and CNBC, with viewers flocking to watch the 2004 Democratic presidential contenders vie in a debate jointly sponsored by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal.

Event, featuring all 10 candidates, including newcomer Gen. Wesley Clark, aired Thursday afternoon on CNBC and that evening on MSNBC.

Debate, held in Gotham, was moderated by NBC News’ Brian Williams.

According to preliminary Nielsen numbers, MSNBC delivered 797,000 viewers for the debate, which aired from 9-11 p.m. ET. That’s about three times more than the cable news net generally averages for that time period.

CNBC also saw a dramatic bump in audience numbers, averaging 603,000 total viewers for the debate, which aired from 4-6 p.m. ET. That time period normally draws an average aud of about 234,000.

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