Denver debate draws 67.2 million viewers

Fox News leads cable competition with 10.4 mil viewers

Interest in the presidential election is high this fall, as an estimated 67.2 million Americans watched the first of the three debates between President Obama and his GOP challenger Mitt Romney.

The figure came in well above the 52.4 million who watched the first such debate of the 2008 election season.

Wednesday’s roughly 90-minute debate from the U. of Denver in Colorado was carried across 11 networks and was moderated by Jim Lehrer of PBS.

Nielsen didn’t release official numbers for the broadcast networks, as the debate will be sustained and not included in nightly averages. But estimates had ABC on top for the 9-10:30 p.m. ET window with 11.3 million, followed by NBC (11.1 million) and CBS (10.6 million).

According to Nielsen, Fox News Channel drew an average audience of 10.42 million for its commercial-free telecast, which marked the highest aud for a presidential debate in the cabler’s 16-year history.

CNN (6 million) easily topped MSNBC (4.7 million), and CNN won the youth vote over its cable rivals, drawing 1.46 million viewers in the adults 18-34 demo.

More TV

  • Chris MatthewsTime 100 Gala, New York,

    Female Staffer Who Accused Chris Matthews of Sexual Harassment Received Severance from NBC

    Interest in the presidential election is high this fall, as an estimated 67.2 million Americans watched the first of the three debates between President Obama and his GOP challenger Mitt Romney. The figure came in well above the 52.4 million who watched the first such debate of the 2008 election season. Wednesday’s roughly 90-minute debate […]

  • SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 1734

    'SNL': Alec Baldwin's Donald Trump Declares 'The War on Christmas Is Over' (Watch)

    Interest in the presidential election is high this fall, as an estimated 67.2 million Americans watched the first of the three debates between President Obama and his GOP challenger Mitt Romney. The figure came in well above the 52.4 million who watched the first such debate of the 2008 election season. Wednesday’s roughly 90-minute debate […]

  • HBO Documentary President Sheila Nevins Stepping

    HBO Documentary President Sheila Nevins Stepping Down

    Interest in the presidential election is high this fall, as an estimated 67.2 million Americans watched the first of the three debates between President Obama and his GOP challenger Mitt Romney. The figure came in well above the 52.4 million who watched the first such debate of the 2008 election season. Wednesday’s roughly 90-minute debate […]

  • Disney-Fox Deal Sets Up Scramble for

    Disney-Fox Deal Unleashes Flood of Free-Agent Executives, Talent

    Interest in the presidential election is high this fall, as an estimated 67.2 million Americans watched the first of the three debates between President Obama and his GOP challenger Mitt Romney. The figure came in well above the 52.4 million who watched the first such debate of the 2008 election season. Wednesday’s roughly 90-minute debate […]

  • Morgan Spurlock Sexual Misconduct

    Morgan Spurlock's TNT Series 'Who Rules the World' Halts Production

    Interest in the presidential election is high this fall, as an estimated 67.2 million Americans watched the first of the three debates between President Obama and his GOP challenger Mitt Romney. The figure came in well above the 52.4 million who watched the first such debate of the 2008 election season. Wednesday’s roughly 90-minute debate […]

  • George Clooney Matt Charman

    Watergate Series in the Works at Netflix From George Clooney, Matt Charman

    Interest in the presidential election is high this fall, as an estimated 67.2 million Americans watched the first of the three debates between President Obama and his GOP challenger Mitt Romney. The figure came in well above the 52.4 million who watched the first such debate of the 2008 election season. Wednesday’s roughly 90-minute debate […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content