With Its Most-Watched Telecast In Its History, Fox News Channel Leads Cable News Coverage of Third Presidential Debate

Categories: Cable News Ratings

Written By

October 23rd, 2012

FOX News Channel notched its highest-rated telecast in the network’s 16-year history with its coverage of last night’s presidential debate. The debate averaged 11.5 million viewers – besting its previous record of 11.1 million viewers (the ’12 second presidential debate and the ‘08 VP debate between Palin/Biden ). Fox also edged out CBS in total viewers and had more viewership than the combined MSNBC & CNN (5.8 million for CNN and 4.1 million for MSNBC).

We'll have our regular cable news ratings post up later today, but below are the early ratings, according to Nielsen, including the fast national (preliminary) ratings for the broadcast networks:

9:00-10:30PM (debate coverage)

FNC: 11,474,835 in total viewers (3,433,142 in 25-54)

CNN: 5,808,405 in total viewers (2,475,772 in 25-54)

MSNBC: 4,063,673 in total viewers (1,701,793 in 25-54)

8:00-11:00PM (primetime coverage)

FNC: 9,068,124 in total viewers (2,586,259 in 25-54)

CNN: 4,374,775 in total viewers (1,833,421 in 25-54)

MSNBC: 3,295,125 in total viewers (1,345,369 in 25-54)

Broadcast Fast Nationals 9-10:39PM:

NBC: 12,391,341 in P2+ (5,839,648)

ABC: 11,730,247 in P2+ (4,361,952)

CBS: 8,437,098 in P2+ (3,564,135)


  • Ralph Hahn

    The question is: “Is Fox News THAT good, or are the all-liberal CNN & MSNBC so bad?”

    Tawk amongst yourselves.

  • Doug Z

    Jeff Michaels
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 12:23 PM

    You people are idiots. Equating ratings and voting is moronic. But let’s follow your logic and prove just how dumb you are.

    I’m guessing you believe the mainstream media is all in the tank for Obama and 100% Liberal. So add ABC, NBC, CBS & CNN’s ratings to MSNBCs and you get more than 41 million views. Compared to Fox News 11.5 million. I guess it will be a landslide victory for Obama in November.

    You trolls are ridiculous. But thanks for the laugh.

    You are wrong.
    conservitive- Fox–11.5
    Liberals, all aphabete Media–36.6

    Libs do win

  • Doug Z

    Ralph Hahn

    I am the real Ralph Hahn

  • Ralph Hahn

    BTW: Although you can’t please everybody, I thought that Bob Schieffer did a good job last night. He could have challenged Obama as he did Romney, but overall, Bob was pretty close to even when it came to total minutes given each candidate. Obama was given more time at the two previous Presidential debates.

  • Ralph Hahn

    @Doug Z: >>> I am the real Ralph Hahn <<< Ha-frickin-ha! Well, you can use my name, because I certainly wouldn't want the "Doug Z" handle.

  • Doug Z

    Ralph Hahn

    I would only steel the best.

  • Doug Z

    Ralph Hahn Because you are made of steel

  • Ralph Hahn

    @TVMAN: >>> Should be interesting to see what Donald Trump has on Obama, he says hes releasing something very big on Wendsday. <<<

    I'll bet it's something to do with the Obama from Kenya thing. But whatever it is, Romney should distance himself from it. Speaking for myself, 'I' don't believe Obama was born outside the U.S., but a lot of folks still do. Fantasy…just like the fantastic record Obama has to run on. lol

  • Ralph Hahn

    >>> Ralph Hahn Because you are made of steel <<<


  • Doug Z

    Uninstalling Obama……… ???????????????? 95% complete.

    Current attempt to Reinstall Obama 2.0…..????????????????? Error.. Error.. Recalibrate.. Recalibrate.. Warning Will Robinson! Red Alert! Red Alert!

    I’m sorry, we are encountering technical difficulties… People are waking up from the matrix….

  • Doug Z

    the Marks and Jeff will not understand that one.

  • Ralph Hahn

    @Ted: See my post directly above yours…what happened was…liars figured.

  • Tim

    no TED, foxnews is the only fair and balanced news channel, where both side get to have their say, unlike all the other liberal channels that if they have a republican on, it’s five to one ratio on the set, rarely gets a word in for all the liberal interruptions..

  • Tested

    My view: Fox News did so well because the Fox Network did not air the debate.

  • Robbie

    I love Liberals, we are all stupid because we watch FOX News! That is just as dumb as me saying that Mark2 and all the rest of you guys are stupid because you don’t watch FOX News!! Please tell me you guys have more than that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Steve

    When will these FoxNews watchers finally realize that they ARE the “lame-stream” media???

  • Sia

    NBC and ABC aren’t cable HELLOOOOOO Fox News is awesome and you libs are just jealous hahaha … More views then CNN and MSNBC together.

© 2015 Tribune Digital Ventures