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Debate Ratings: Fox News Tops Cable With Ratings On Par With Palin-Biden Debate

The second presidential debate garnered a huge audience last night, with most channels drawing in more viewers than they did for the last debate. Fox News’ ratings were comparable to the Sarah PalinJoe Biden vice presidential debate in 2008.

The network topped the cable news channels, bringing in about 11 million viewers, versus 5.7 million for CNN and 4.8 million for MSNBC. CNN, unlike the other two, had higher ratings for the first debate.

Among the broadcast networks, preliminary numbers show NBC led with 13.8 million viewers, while ABC wasn’t far behind with 12.4 million, and CBS drew in 8.9 million. Those figures will change when the final numbers are out.

The rundown:

Cable News (9-10:30 p.m.):
Fox News: 11,102,117 in total viewers & 3,455,243 in demo
CNN: 5,770,449 in total viewers & 2,583,272 in demo
MSNBC: 4,876,967 in total viewers & 1,913,571 in demo

Cable News (8-11 p.m., including pre- and post-debate analysis):
Fox News: 9,000,869 in total viewers & 2,687,147 in demo
CNN: 4,343,325 in total viewers & 1,896,333 in demo
MSNBC: 3,884,487 in total viewers & 1,489,602 in demo

Broadcast (9-10:30 p.m., preliminary numbers):
NBC: 13,817,973 total viewers
ABC: 12,463,912 total viewers
CBS: 8,921,671 total viewers

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