NBC News Ranks #1 Across the Board in Post-Debate Analysis

Primetime Coverage on NBC Outperforms All Other Networks In Key Demos A25-54 and A18-49

NEW YORK (October 20, 2016) – More Americans tuned to NBC News and MSNBC combined for coverage of the third and final 2016 presidential debate than any other broadcast or cable television network. According to Nielsen Media Research fast national data, the two networks drew a combined total of 15.9 million viewers. Additionally, the broadcast network led across the board in post-debate analysis.

The NBC News broadcast network coverage (9-10:36 pm ET) averaged 10.4 million total viewers, outperforming CBS by 273,000 (+3%). Among A25-54 viewers, NBC News averaged 4.5 million viewers, leading ABC by 107,000 (+2%) and CBS by 769,000  (+21%). In A18-49, NBC averaged 4.1 million, topping ABC by 176,000 (+5%) and CBS by 934,000 (+30%).

In post-debate analysis, NBC averaged 8.273 million total viewers, outperforming ABC by 45,000 (+1%) and CBS by 885,000 (+12%). Lester Holt, Savannah Guthrie, and Chuck Todd anchored NBC News’ primetime coverage live from the debate hall in Las Vegas, joined by Tom Brokaw, and others.

MSNBC’s coverage of the debate (9-10:45pm ET) averaged 5.5 million total viewers, 1.8 million A25-54 viewers and 1.5 million A18-49 viewers. This marks MSNBC’s second-largest debate audience ever and highest-rated debate in the key A25-54 demo for the 2016 election cycle.  MSNBC’s demo audience grew from the first to second to third debate, while CNN declined from the second debate.

Rachel Maddow and Brian Williams anchored MSNBC’s coverage, joined by Chris Matthews and the full team of NBC News and MSNBC correspondents and contributors.

OCTOBER 19, 2016

Broadcast Specials: 9-10:36 p.m. ET

  Total Viewers A25-54 Rating A25-54 Viewers A18-49 Rating A18-49 Viewers
NBC 10.393 3.72 4.472 3.19 4.095
CBS 10.120 3.08 3.703 2.46 3.161
ABC 10.962 3.63 4.365 3.05 3.918


Broadcast Specials: 10:37-11 p.m. ET

  Total Viewers A25-54 Rating A25-54 Viewers A18-49 Rating A18-49 Viewers
NBC 8.273 2.94 3.534 2.47 3.170
CBS 7.387 2.24 2.693 1.77 2.277
ABC 8.227 2.76 3.313 2.27 2.912


Cable Primetime: 9-10:45 p.m. ET

  Total Viewers A25-54 Rating A25-54 Viewers A18-49 Rating A18-49 Viewers
MSNBC 5.507 1.49 1.792 1.19 1.525
CNN 8.677 2.87 3.447 2.67 3.423
Fox News 11.257 2.89 3.468 2.32 2.980


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More Americans watch NBC News and MSNBC than any news organization in the world. NBC News is a global leader in news across all broadcast and digital platforms. Its leading and award-winning television news broadcasts include NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, TODAY, Meet the Press, and Dateline, as well as primetime specials and breaking news reports. For the 2015-2016 season, all four NBC News broadcasts were #1 in the key news demo. MSNBC is the premier cable destination for breaking and live news coverage, in-depth analysis, and influential voices – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The rapidly-growing NBC News Digital Group, along with the SiriusXM TODAY Show and MSNBC radio channels and NBC News Radio on the iHeartMedia 24/7 News Network, provide continuous content to consumers wherever they are, whenever they want it.

NBC News is part of the NBCUniversal News Group, a division of NBCUniversal, which is owned by Comcast Corporation.  For more information about NBCUniversal, please visit www.NBCUniversal.com.


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