Bush address: same subject, less viewers


NEW YORK -- Ratings for President Bush's address to the nation last week about the "surge" in Iraq fell far below his January speech that announced the troop increase.

Nielsen Media Research said Friday that Bush's speech and the Democratic response averaged 28.8 million viewers between 9-9:30 p.m. That compared with the 42.4 million viewers who tuned in for Bush's Jan. 10 speech. Each included viewership on the Big Four broadcast networks, three cable news channels and Univision and Telemundo.

CBS and Fox News Channel led the networks in viewership, with CBS averaging about 6.9 million viewers for the half-hour speech and Fox News Channel averaging 3 million viewers, according to the networks. ABC averaged 5.4 million viewers for the president's speech and 5.3 million viewers for the Democratic response, given by Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I. NBC averaged 4.5 million viewers, while Fox -- with a separate feed from the sister network FNC -- averaged 3.8 million viewers.

CBS had a new episode of "Big Brother" before the speech, while NBC and ABC had only repeats.

Among cable networks, FNC's 3 million total viewers trounced CNN (1.3 million) and MSNBC (983,000). Fox News also had 745,000 viewers in the adults 25-54 demographic, while MSNBC averaged 455,000 and CNN averaged 454,000.