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ABC Tops All Networks for Debate Viewership

ABC averaged 11,040,000 Total Viewers for the first presidential debate, topping its next closest competitor by almost three million viewers. Fox News Channel finished second overall — CBS finished third, while NBC’s average was on par with CNN’s.

ABC and CBS likely benefited from strong lead-ins. CBS’ Mentalist averaged 7.9 million and ABC’s 20/20 special had 6.89 million viewers. NBC’s America’s Toughest Jobs brought in just 3.84 million viewers leading into the debate. For post-debate coverage ABC finished first, FNC second, NBC third, CNN fourth, CBS fifth, and MSNBC sixth.

52.4 million people watched the debate on Friday. But that’s not good not enough to even crack the top 10 presidential debates going back to 1976.

The Total Viewers for the debate from 9pmET-10:38pmET:

Network Total Viewers
ABC 11,040,000
FNC 8,211,000
CBS 7,560,000
CNN 7,140,000
NBC 7,100,000
MSNBC 3,922,000
FOX 3,900,000
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