11:38am PT by Michael O'Connell
Fox News Wins Cable Coverage of Veep Debate, MSNBC Back on Top of CNN
On the whole, cable news viewership of last night's Vice Presidential Debate was down from last week's first match-up between President Obama and Mitt Romney, but Fox News held steady in its lead.
The network once again pulled in just over 10 million viewers (10.02 million) during the 90-minute debate, topping MSNBC (4.38 million) and CNN (4.15 million) combined. Rankings held the same for the key adults 25-54 demographic, with FNC (3.06 million) leading MSNBC (1.62 million) and CNN (1.52 million).
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Compared to last week, FNC was the only network to post growth, moving up more than 100,000 viewers in the key demo and staying relatively even in the demo. The network is also on track to beat broadcast networks according to fast national data. MSNBC, for its part, jumped ahead of CNN, which had seen a significant (and uncommon) advantage over the runner-up during last week's debate.
These numbers, while robust, are a far cry from the 2008 Vice Presidential Debate between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin. That hyped showdown brought in 72 million viewers across all of television. Final numbers for all broadcasts will be available later in the day.
For the entire primetime block (8 to 11 p.m.), rankings held the same: FNC (8.05 million viewers, 2.28 million adults 25-54) over MSNBC (3.52 million viewers, 1.28 million adults 25-54) and CNN (3.27 million viewers, 1.16 million adults 25-54).