October 23, 2012 9:11am PT by Michael O'Connell
TV Ratings: NBC Leads Third Debate in Early Numbers, 'Dancing With the Stars' Grows
Fast affiliate numbers give NBC News an early win in debate ratings.
The third and final presidential debate was down in gross viewership -- not including Fox's pre-emption for postseason baseball -- and, with the exception of NBC, returns also were shy of the comparable 2008 showdown. After starting with an abbreviated episode of The Voice (down 13 percent to a 4.2 adults rating), NBC's debate coverage pulled a 4.2 adults rating and 11.5 million viewers. During the course of the night, NBC averaged a dominant 4.0 adults rating and pulled in just shy of ABC with 11.24 million viewers.
ABC's Detroit affiliate carried NFL football, so the network's current numbers could see some adjustment. That said, Dancing With the Stars' one-hour performance show was up 14 percent from last week, posting a 2.4 adults rating before the network's debate coverage (a 2.9 adults rating and 11 million viewers). The network averaged a 2.6 adults rating and 11.27 million viewers for the night.
Comedy encores led into CBS News' debate coverage (a 2.3 rating with adults 18-49 and 7.9 million viewers). The network averaged a 2.2 rating with 18-49-ers and 7.4 million viewers.
Preliminary numbers give Fox's Game 7 of the National League Championship Series a 2.3 rating with adults 18-49.
The lack of scripted competition did not give The CW any advantages. 90210, down two-tenths of a point to a 0.4 rating with 18-49-ers, led into an even episode of Gossip Girl (0.4 adults rating). The network averaged a 0.4 rating with adults 18-49 and 927,000 viewers.
Univision earned a 1.1 rating with adults 18-49.