UPDATED, 11:30 AM: NBC beat broadcast and cable networks across the board for the first 2016 presidential debate, snagging its highest total audience, and 25-54 news-demo deliveries since 1992 in a first general election presidential debate.
The NBC broadcast network averaged 18.2 million total viewers, outperforming ABC’s 13.5M and CBS’s 12.1M. Among 25-54 viewers, NBC averaged 8.3M viewers, thumping ABC ‘s 4.75M, and CBS’s 4.8M.
Adding in MSNBC’s coverage of the debate, NBC News boasts its coverage clocked 23.1M viewers to “lead all other networks.”
UPDATE, 9:44 AM: In early numbers, ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox averaged a combined 42.4 million total viewers for last night’s first presidential debate from 9-11 p.m. NBC led with an average 15.6 million viewers, followed by ABC with 11.6 million, CBS with 10.2 million, and Fox with 5 million. Nielsen will release final stats later this afternoon.
And earliest stats for the election cycle’s first presidential debate indicate a combined 46.2 rating across nine broadcast and cable networks.
These very early stats from one source show NBC with a household 11.0/15 during the debate – 9 PM until about 10:40 PM.
According to the early numbers, ABC followed with 9.0/13, and CBS with a 7.5/10. Fox broadcast network, which does not typically air news programming, was a lap behind with a 3.7/5. But expect Fox News Channel to lead among cable news networks, if not among all outlets — broadcast and cable — when final viewing numbers from Nielsen come in later today, including a cumed crowd across multiple nets.
But these early metered markets numbers vary from source to source, depending on when the data was pulled, though the lineup remains the same. Another source had NBC with a 10.9/15, to ABC’s 8.4/12, CBS’ 7.3/10 and Fox’s 3.9/5.
Anyway, all of these early network results could wind up changing significantly, given that the debate aired live across the country, which meant pre-primetime on the West Coast.