Fox News breaks record with VP debate
FNC was tops among cable, tied for third overallNEW YORK -- Thanks to the Sarah Palin-Joe Biden vice presidential debate Thursday night, Fox News Channel managed to break a record of its own.
Fox News' telecast of the debate was its most-watched ever in the 12-year history of the network, Nielsen Media Research said Friday afternoon. It was also the top-rated cable newscast for the debate with 11.1 million viewers. It tied with CBS News' viewership and only ABC (13.1 million) and NBC (12.8 million) were higher.
"I figured this would be high, but I didn't realize that it would be this big," said Jay Wallace, vp of news editorial product at Fox News Channel. "This goes to show you how interested people are not only of politics but also the economy. People are very interested in what the candidates have to say."
Fox News led cable, with CNN averaging 10.7 million viewers and MSNBC's 4.4 million.
"Americans wanted to watch this," Wallace said. "The numbers are high across the board."
And led by a heated exchange between Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly and Congressman Barney Frank, D-Mass., as well as the debate, Fox News Channel pulled in its best primetime average ever.
O'Reilly's interview played during the "The O'Reilly Factor" before the debate and before the pre-debate coverage, which was anchored by Fox News Channel's Brit Hume and Chris Wallace. Viewers who missed the O'Reilly-Franks exchange could watch it again several times during the night, including during Fox News' "On the Record With Greta van Susteren" in the hour or so after the debate.