UPDATE, 2:46 PM: The Vice Presidential debate between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan last night pulled in 51.4 million viewers — 18 million less than the record-breaking face-off between Sarah Palin and Joe Biden in 2008, which drew 69.9 million viewers. Fox News won Thursday’s debate among all outlets with an audience of just more than 10 million. CBS was the most-watched broadcast network with 8.31 million viewers, just above ABC’s 8.29 million. NBC was third with 7.85 million. Overall, the viewership is down considerably from the numbers all three received in 2008 for Palin-Biden, when ABC drew 13.1 million viewers, NBC 12.8 million and CBS 11.1 million. Last night’s debate also drew 15 million viewers less than the first Presidential debate October 4 between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.

Related: The VP Debate: What Did You Think?

ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, PBS, CNBC, CNN, Current TV, Fox News and MSNBC ran the Biden-Ryan debate live from 9-10:30 PM ET; Telemundo and Univision broadcast it on tape delay. The debate was the third-most watched VP debate ever, following Palin-Biden and the 1984 debate between incumbent George H.W. Bush and Geraldine Ferarro, which drew 56.7 million viewers.

PREVIOUSLY: 11:19 AM: Fox News Channel dominated cable news networks’ coverage of the Vice Presidential debate last night between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan. Fox News had just more than 10 million viewers during the 9-10:30 PM ET debate, more than MSNBC and CNN put together. That total is just slightly down from the 10.42 million who watched the first Presidential debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney on Fox News on October 4, when the network also won big over its rivals. Last night’s debate was down about 1 million viewers from Fox News’ coverage of Biden’s last VP debate in 2008 against Gov. Sarah Palin; those 11.1 million total viewers marked the largest viewership number in the network’s 12-year history up to that point. Here are last night’s numbers:

Related: The VP Debate: What Did You Think?

Fox News: 10,019,827 in total viewers (3,057,099 in 25-54)

MSNBC: 4,378,671 in total viewers (1,619,542 in 25-54)

CNN: 4,145,951 in total viewers (1,523,882 in 25-54)

Although reliable numbers won’t be in until later, fast nationals this morning had last night’s debate tracking down in the double digits from the Biden-Palin debate. We will update with those numbers later.

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