Election Viewing Down From 2008
Some 66.8 million viewers watched the election returns during primetime on the broadcast and cable networks, according to Nielsen Research. That figure was down nearly 7 percent from the 71.5 million who tuned in to election-night coverage four years ago. NBC was the most-watched network with an average of 12.1 million viewers in primetime. But the second most-watched network was not a broadcast one but cable's Fox News Channel, which drew 11.45 million viewers -- the biggest average audience for the network during primetime in its history. ABC came in third with 10.52 million viewers, while CNN had 9.25 million. CBS rounded out the top five with 7.92 million. The figures do not tell the whole tale, however, since the election was not decided until the 11:00 p.m. hour, when coverage presumably peaked. Post-primetime ratings (the period after 11:00 p.m. have not yet been released.