TV Ratings: Obama's Final SOTU Hits Low, 31.3 Million Viewers

UPDATED: CNN wins the cable race, while CBS logs the most-watched telecast across all of TV.
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After half a dozen updates throughout Wednesday, President Obama's final State of the Union address did log an all-time low — albeit just 500,000 viewers shy of last year. Final returns from Nielsen have the address grossing 31.3 million viewers across broadcast and cable.*

CBS earned the most-watched coverage across the board. The network averaged 6.9 million viewers over the course of the SOTU.

The cable race saw CNN topping in the news demo and total viewers. Between 9:11 and 10:09 p.m. ET, when the President was speaking, CNN easily won the night with an average 1.3 million adults 25-54. That's more than 500,000 ahead of FNC. The race for total viewers was much tighter, with CNN edging FNC by only 17,000 viewers — 3.49 million over 3.47 million. MSNBC also placed a reasonably strong No. 3, averaging 2.5 million viewers and 604,000 adults 25-54.

The fact that Obama's final SOTU was an all-time low comes as little surprise. There is typically a consistent downward trajectory every year after a president's first address.

Counterprogramming was slim on broadcast, with The CW being the only network to air all originals. The 20th anniversary reunion of MadTV fetched a 0.6 rating with adults 18-49 and 1.6 million viewers. A new iZombie fetched a 0.5 in the key demo.

Fox also had new episodes of New Girl (1.4 adults) and Grandfathered (1.0 adults), each steady with last week's showings. Hollywood Game Night boasted a 1.2 rating with adults 18-49 on NBC.

*Networks covering the SOTU included ABC, Al Jazeera America, Azteca, CBS, CNN, FOX, FOX Business Network, FOX News Channel, Galavision, MSNBC, NBC, NBC Universo and Univision.

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