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TV Ratings: President Obama Draws Big Farewell Audience, ‘This Is Us’ Dominates

President Obama’s Farewell Address threw a bit of a monkey wrench into the broadcast ratings last night, running from 9 p.m. to around 9:45 p.m. on the East Coast. Consequently, Nielsen’s fast nationals are slightly wonky; however, NBC won the night handily.

NBC’s “This Is Us” continued to show strong endurance, pulling in a preliminary 2.6 in the demo at 10 p.m. and 9.07 million viewers. However, NBC’s scheduling for “This Is Us” varied across time zones; on the West Coast, the episode aired at 9 and 10 p.m., resulting in a cumulative demo rating of 3.0 and 10.5 million viewers. “The Wall” at 8 p.m. drew a 1.7 and 7.07 million viewers.

ABC had time for two of its comedies before the speech. “The Middle” stayed steady with a 1.7 and 7.24 million viewers. “American Housewife” brought in a 1.5 and 5.95 million viewers. “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” averaged 2.73 million viewers and a 0.8 in the demo.

“The New Girl” on Fox stayed steady with a 1.1 and 2.57 million viewers. “The Mick” slipped a little from last week, but drew a bigger total audience than its lead-in, with a 1.1 in the demo and 3.02 million viewers on the whole.

CBS and the CW were in repeats.

At 9, all the broadcasters switched over to the Farewell Address from Chicago, but the audience wasn’t exactly equally distributed. NBC was the biggest draw, pulling a 2.4 in the demo and 8.57 million viewers from 9 to 9:30 p.m. On ABC in the same time period, 5.57 million tuned in, with a 1.3 demo rating. CBS drew a 1.2 and 7.08 million viewers. Fox had the smallest audience for that portion of the evening, with a 0.8 in the demo and 2.59 million viewers. That’s an average audience of 23.81 million viewers in that half-hour slot.

As a reminder, many of these series will see lifts of 50% or more once viewing within three and seven days is counted. However, most of those gains won’t translate to the ratings guarantees networks make advertisers.

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