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TV Ratings: Final Debate Rules, ABC’s Halloween Scares Up a Win

The final debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump dominated the airwaves Wednesday night.

ABC was tops in total viewers within the 9-10:30 p.m. block, with an average audience of 9.84 million and a 2.8 18-49 rating. NBC averaged 9.18 million viewers and a 2.8 in the demo as well. CBS drew 9.29 million and a 2.2 demo rating. Fox came in with 6.3 million total viewers and a 2.0 demo.

The debate lasted until 10:36 p.m., at which point everyone but Fox went into post-brawl coverage. From 10:30-11, ABC averaged 7.7 million viewers and a 2.2 in the demo, NBC averaged 7.37 million viewers and a 2.2 in the demo, and CBS averaged 7.09 million viewers and a 1.7 demo rating.

But the debate wasn’t the only thing that aired last night on broadcast. ABC’s block of family Halloween programming at 8 p.m. easily bested everything else in the hour in the demo, including CBS stalwart “Survivor” (1.9 demo rating, 8.63 million viewers). Old classic “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” drew a 2.2 in the demo and 7.66 million viewers, and new classic “Toy Story of Terror” came in with a 2.0 demo and 6.7 million viewers.

On NBC, “Blindspot” added a couple tenths to its demo rating from last week, drawing a 1.3 in the demo and 5.62 million viewers.

Without its “Empire” lead-out, “Lethal Weapon” on Fox dropped a couple tenths from last week to a 1.7 demo rating and 6.6 million viewers.

Over on The CW, which, as usual, didn’t air debate coverage, “Arrow” ticked down again to a 0.6 demo rating (compared to a 0.7 last week) and 1.8 million total viewers. “Frequency” grew slightly, to a 0.4 in the demo and 1.05 million viewers.

As a reminder, most of these shows will see viewership gains of at least 50% once viewing within three and seven days is counted. But if the first two weeks of C3, or commercial, ratings are any indication, most of those gains won’t translate into the deliveries networks promise advertisers.

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