While the rest of the media seethes of Mitt Romney’s big win last night, Fox News – the most fair and balanced news network -- can bask in the glow of high ratings. During the presidential debate, Fox News drew 10.4 million viewers, with about 3 million in the coveted 25-54 demographic. That was Fox News’ highest-rated debate ever. CNN came in second, at 6 million viewers; MSNBC brought up the rear, with Chris Matthews’ leg-tingling performance drawing a mere 4.7 million. Each of the three broadcast networks garnered approximately 10 million viewers.
Overall, this was by far the most-watched event of the 2012 campaign cycle, with a grand total of approximately 58 million viewers. Barack Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention, by contrast, drew 35.7 million viewers. Mitt Romney’s at the Republican National Convention drew 30.3 million viewers.
Update: Nielsen has released final numbers for last night. 67.2 million people watched the debate. That's an increase of almost 15 million viewers over the first presidential debate in 2008, which scored 52.4 million viewers. And then CNN just replayed the debate today.
Update II: Nielsen has now released full numbers. Here are the network numbers:
ABC: 11.25 million total viewers
NBC: 11.07 million total viewers
CBS: 10.58 million total viewers
Fox: 6.89 million total viewers