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Obama's State of the Union Drops From Last Year

About 43 million people watched his speech, down 11 percent from 2010.

President Barrack Obama
Alex Wong/Getty Images

About 43 million people watched President Obama’s State of the Union speech on 11 networks, according to Nielsen. The speech, which commenced at 9 p.m. ET, was as usual carried live and commercial free on ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, Telemundo, Univision, CNN, Centric, CNBC, Fox News Channel and MSNBC.

That’s down 11 percent compared to last year’s address, which was watched 48 million viewers across broadcast and cable. It was also down from 2009’s speech, Obama’s first after taking office, which was watched by 52 million viewers.   Meanwhile NBC won the 8 p.m. hour with Biggest Loser: Couples averaging a 3.0 rating in the 18-49 demographic with 8.6 million total viewers. CBS was second in the hour with a rerun of NCIS (2.3 rating, 13.1 million). Fox and ABC were barely competitive with reruns of Glee (1.6, 4.6 million) and No Ordinary Family (1.1, 4.3 million).   The CW, which offered alternative broadcast viewing by not airing the State of the Union speech, had its most-watched Tuesday of the season with 2 million viewers from 8-10 p.m. At 8 p.m., One Tree Hill averaged a 1.3 rating in CW’s target demographic of 18-34-year-olds, up 8 percent compared to its season average. At 9 p.m. Hellcats had its most watched episode since September pulling in 2.1 million viewers and a 1.1 rating in the 18-34 demo for a 10 percent bump compared to its last original episode.   On cable news, which carried the speech as well as the Republican response and post-speech analysis, Fox News dominated, averaging 4.9 million viewers during the speech, which began at approximately 9:10 p.m. ET. CNN averaged 2.9 million viewers and MSNBC had 2.5 million.