The President’s speech announcing a strategy for U.S. involvement in Afghanistan was seen by 40.8 million viewers Tuesday night.
The ratings from Nielsen Media Research represent a 27% rise compared with the president’s most recent prime-time telecast regarding his health care plan back in September. The audience was also up 65% compared with Obama’s speech in July — also about health care.
Last week was Obama’s largest viewership since networks covered his address on the economy last March.
During the President’s speech from West Point, Obama detailed his plan to send 30,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan within the next 18 months.
The speech was aired live on ABC, PBS, CBS, NBC, Fox, Univision, Telemundo, CNBC, CNN, Fox News Channel, and MSNBC.
Fox News beat CNN and MSNBC combined for the event in both total viewers and the A25-54 demographic — in both prime-time and during the President’s speech, which aired from 8:02 PM to 8:36 PM.
CBS roped in 10.16 million of them, according to preliminary figures released early today (Wednesday) by Nielsen Research. Another 8.65 million watched the president on NBC; 7.46 million on ABC; and 4.57 million on Fox.
For the speech, Fox News averaged 4.554 million total viewers and 1.252 million A25-54 viewers. CNN came in second with 2.349 million total viewers and 669,000 A25-54 viewers, while MSNBC placed third with 1.560 million total viewers and 434,000 A25-54 viewers.
In prime-time for the evening, Fox News averaged 3.791 million total viewers to CNN’s 1.744 million and MSNBC’s 1.281 million. In the prime demo, Fox News averaged 1.113 million total viewers to CNN’s 485,000 and MSNBC’s 371,000.
Later in the evening, a repeat of CBS’s NCIS was able to prevail over mostly all-new programming on the other networks. But NBC took over the lead at 10:00 p.m. with The Biggest Loser, which continues to be its biggest winner among entertainment programs.
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