Donald Trump Delivers Historic Barack Obama Numbers Across TV Landscape On Election Night


About 71 million people tuned in to watch the country elect its first reality TV star POTUS, despite his having never held public office. That number is on par with that other history-making election in 2008, when the country elected its first African-American president.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by IBL/REX/Shutterstock (7426337o) Donald Trump Donald Trump presidential campaigning, Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA - 08 Nov 2016

Nielsen said this afternoon that Donald Trump’s pounding of Hillary Clinton attracted an estimated 71.43M people during primetime across ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, Telemundo, Univision, CNBC, CNN, Fox Business Network, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, TV One and Lifetime. Except, of course, the race was just getting good at 11 PM ET, and it wasn’t until around 2 AM that Hillary Clinton opted not to throw in the towel and Trump delivered his victory speech. And, these numbers are missing PBS and C-SPAN. It’s an imperfect science.

Anyway, the number is up from the 66.8 million viewers who watched the primetime portion of the 2012 Election Night in 2012, when President Obama was re-elected,  across ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, PBS, Univision, Telemundo, CNBC, CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, Current TV and TV One. Notice PBS is included in this tally.

Last night’s numbers are, however, on par with the record-setting 71M who watched Barack Obama make history eight years ago, when he was elected our 44th POTUS.

Cable networks took over Election Night viewing. CNN was the most watched news outlet in primetime, snagging its most watched Election Night primetime in cable news history: a record 13.26 million viewers. FNC followed with 12.11 million tuned in from 8-11 PM ET. MSNBC logged 6M.

NBC led the broadcast networks, averaging 11.2M primetime total viewers, followed by ABC’s 9.3M, and CBS’s 8.1M.

In the news demo, CNN was also No. 1 in primetime, with 6.655 million viewers, followed by NBC’s 5.3M, FNC’s 4.6M, ABC’s 3.8M, CBS’ 3M, and MSNBC’s 2.4 million.

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