Clinton/Trump breaks record as most watched presidential debate ever

URBANDALE, IA - SEPTEMBER 26: Supporters of Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump listen to the first of three presidential debates, on September 26, 2016 at the Trump headquarters in Urbandale, Iowa. People across the country tuned in as Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton participated in their first debate. (Photo by Steve Pope/Getty Images)

(Photo by Steve Pope/Getty Images)

The first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump Monday night was seen by about 84 million people, a record, according to Nielsen numbers.

In comparison, the first Mitt Romney/Barack Obama debate in 2012 drew a collective 67 million viewers.

The estimates do not include the millions more who watched the debate on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and other online options.

Once final Nielsen numbers are in, the final total should exceed the 80.6 million who watched the first Ronald Reagan/Jimmy Carter debate in 1980.

In Atlanta, WSB-TV brought in the largest debate audience from an individual network with a 7.9 rating or about 492,000 viewers. followed by Fox News with a 6.0 rating (373,860), then CNN at a 4 rating (249,240), Fox 5 (WAGA-TV) with a 3.7 (230,547) and 11 Alive (WXIA-TV) with a 3.4 (211,854). CBS46 came in sixth with a 1.7 (105,927), ahead of MSNBC (1.5), GPB (1.1), CNBC and PBA (0.3) and Fox Business News (0.1). (This didn’t include Bloomberg or the two Spanish stations.)

Collectively, nearly 1,9 million people – or 30 percent of all metro Atlantans – tuned in to the debate Monday night. About 62 percent of TVs that were on featured the debate.

The Atlanta Falcons “Monday Night Football” win over the New Orleans Saints last night brought in an 8.2 rating on ESPN and another 0.6 on the broadcast WSB 2.2 channel. About 19 percent of TVs were tuned to that game in metro Atlantans. In total, that equals nearly 550,000 sports fans.

Nationally, Fox News attracted 11.36 million viewers, CNN 9.8 million and MSNBC 4.9 million. CNN won among 25 to 54 year olds with 4.4 million viewers vs. 3.5 million for Fox News, which skewed much older in its audience viewership. CNN brought in the biggest audience among the three news networks in the post-debate coverage from 10:45 p.m. to 1 a.m.

NBC garnered the largest audience nationwide with 18.2 million viewers following ‘The Voice.” ABC, which led off the night with ‘Dancing With the Stars,” grabbed 13.5 million viewers. CBS had 12.1 million viewers with Fox (the main broadcast network) finishing with 5.3 million. Telemundo and Univision added another 4 million.


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