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FNC Leads Way with VP Debate, Averaging 10M Viewers

Tops All Broadcasters, Cable Nets as 51.4 Million Watch Biden-Ryan Square-off 10/12/2012 10:41 AM Eastern

Fox News Channel was the choice among the 51.4 million viewers who watched the Oct. 11 Vice Presidential debate, as the service topped all broadcast and cable networks during the face-off between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan.

The cable news sector leader averaged just over 10 million viewers with its coverage from 9 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., according to Nielsen fast national data. That exceeded the 8.31 million who screened the proceedings on CBS and 8.29 million on ABC.

According to Nielsen fast nationals, NBC was fourth with 7.85 million, while MSNBC had 4.38 million and CNN tallied almost 4.15 million.

All told, Nielsen estimated that 51.4 milliion watched the confrontation between Vice President Biden and GOP hopeful Ryan on Thursday night across a dozen networks -- ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, PBS, Telemundo, Univision, CNBC, CNN, Current TV, Fox News and MSNBC (the Spanish-language broadcasters presented the forum on delay). That compared with just under 70 million for Biden and Alaska Gov. and Republican candidate Sarah Palin on Oct. 2, 2008, when ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, Telefutura, Telemundo,BBC America, CNBC, CNN, Fox News and MSNBC aired their debate.

On the demo watch, Fox News set the cable during the 90-minute debate with 3.06 million adults 25 to 54, compared with 1.62 million for MSNBC and 1.52 million for CNN.

In primetime, FNC averaged 8.05 million viewers, including 2.28 million in the so-called news demo. MSNBC was second on the cable side, with 3.52 million and 1.28 million, ahead of CNN’s average of 3.27 million and 1.16 million, respectively.