TV Ratings: NBC Leads Third Debate in Early Numbers, 'Dancing With the Stars' Grows

Presidential Debate Candidates Wave - H 2012
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Presidential Debate Candidates Wave - H 2012

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.

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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.