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Monday Final Nationals: Clinton-Trump Showdown Sets All-Time Presidential Debate Viewership Record

Opposite Debate, 'Monday Night Football' Sinks to Record Low

Opposite Debate, ‘Monday Night Football’ Sinks to Record Low

On the truncated Monday prime time (due to the debate), NBC was the Monday victor among total viewers (11.99 million), adults 18-49 (3.4 rating/10 share) and adults 25-54 (4.2/11).

Across 12 networks, 83.8 million viewers tuned in to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in their first Presidential Debate — an all-time record for a Presidential Debate, surpassing the 80.6 million who watched Ronald Reagan-Jimmy Carter in 1980. No debate since 1980 had exceeded 70 million viewers.

NBC led all networks covering the debate with 18.16 million, followed by ABC at 13.52 and CBS at 12.08. The Big 3 cable news networks, Fox News Channel (11.36 million), CNN (9.80 million) and MSNBC (4.89) – totaled 26.05 million viewers. (Source: Marc Berman of Campaign USA)

From 9-11pm ET, the Clinton-Trump Presidential Debate PBS drew an a average household rating of 1.7 and a delivery of 2.96 million total viewers; up 20 percent growth in average audience size from their 2012 first Presidential Debate (2.47 million on October 3, 2012), based on Nielsen Fast National Live+SD data. (Source: PBS)

The debate also drew significantly positive figures on Spanish-language networks Univision (2.46 million) and Telemundo (1.77 million).

The 83.8-million viewer figure does not include C-Span (not rated by Nielsen) nor streaming services like Twitter and YouTube.

Airing directly opposite the debate, “Monday Night Football” delivered its lowest total audience ever with 8.256 million viewers (8.047 million viewers on ESPN; 209,000 viewers on WatchESPN) for Falcons-Saints. Interestingly enough, the Atlanta Falcons and the New Orleans Saints also both met for the previous record-low MNF viewer mark of 8.449 million back in 2007.

Source: Live+Same Day data, Nielsen Media Research

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* AFF = Number of affiliates (stations) airing the program
* CVG = percent of coverage in U.S.
Programming Insider Monday, September 26, 2016
PROGRAM AFF* CVG*
(PCT)
HH/Share Viewers
(000)
Adults
18-34
Adults
18-49
Adults
25-54
8-11 Network Average 5.9/10 10350 1.3/5 1.7/6 2.2/6
8:00 Dancing with the Stars 249 94 6.9/11 10830 1.3/5 1.8/6 2.4/6
10:39 Vote 2016: Post Debate Analysis (s) 226 93 5.5/9 8979 1.8/6 2.2/6 2.7/6
PROGRAM AFF* CVG*
(PCT)
HH/Share Viewers
(000)
Adults
18-34
Adults
18-49
Adults
25-54
8-11 Network Average 6.2/11 11388 1.7/7 2.6/9 3.5/10
8:00 Big Bang Theory 254 94 8.5/14 14242 2.3/10 3.6/12 4.9/14
8:31 Kevin Can Wait 254 94 6.3/10 10623 1.6/6 2.7/8 3.7/9
10:39 Campaign ’16: Post Debate Analysis (s) 255 94 5.1/8 8233 1.5/5 2.1/6 2.6/6
PROGRAM AFF* CVG*
(PCT)
HH/Share Viewers
(000)
Adults
18-34
Adults
18-49
Adults
25-54
8-11 Network Average 6.5/11 11993 2.2/9 3.1/10 3.8/11
8:00 The Voice 243 94 7.1/11 11723 2.3/9 3.2/10 4.0/11
10:39 Decision ’16: Post Debate Analysis (s) 213 93 7.4/11 12763 2.9/10 4.0/11 4.8/11
PROGRAM AFF* CVG*
(PCT)
HH/Share Viewers
(000)
Adults
18-34
Adults
18-49
Adults
25-54
8-10 Network Average 2.1/3 3537 0.9/4 1.2/4 1.4/4
8:00 Gotham 255 94 2.1/3 3537 0.9/4 1.2/4 1.4/4
PROGRAM AFF* CVG*
(PCT)
HH/Share Viewers
(000)
Adults
18-34
Adults
18-49
Adults
25-54
8-10 Network Average 0.7/1 1037 0.2/1 0.3/1 0.3/1
8:00 Supergirl (r) 247 92 0.6/1 964 0.2/1 0.2/1 0.3/1
9:00 Supergirl (r) 247 92 0.7/1 1110 0.2/1 0.3/1 0.4/1
PROGRAM HH/Share Viewers
(000)
Adults
18-34
Adults
18-49
Adults
25-54
8-11 Network Average 1.2/2 2208 0.8/2
6:55 La Rosa de Guadalupe 1.0/2 1703 0.6/2
7:55 Despertar Contigo 0.9/1 1634 0.6/2
8:55 Clinton vs. Trump El Debate (s) (thru 11:01) 1.3/2 2460 0.9/2
PROGRAM HH/Share Viewers
(000)
Adults
18-34
Adults
18-49
Adults
25-54
8-11 Network Average 0.3/0 547 0.2/1
7:00 Mi Corazon es Tuyo 0.2/0 399 0.1/1
8:00 Moisés y Los Diez Mandamientos 0.4/1 720 0.3/1
9:00 La Ronca de Oro 0.3/0 554 0.2/0
10:00 El Príncipe 0.2/0 366 0.1/0
PROGRAM HH/Share Viewers
(000)
Adults
18-34
Adults
18-49
Adults
25-54
8-11 Network Average 0.9/1 1677 0.6/2
7:00 Caso Cerrado: Edición Estelar 1.0/2 1645 0.5/2
8:00 La Gran Batalla Cara a Cara (s) 0.8/1 1486 0.5/2
9:00 Gran Batalla Clinton vs. Trump (s) 0.9/1 1773 0.6/2

Sub-Demo Breakdowns – Monday 9/26/16

Dancing with the Stars” (ABC)
Women 18-34: 1.6/6
Men 18-34: 0.9/4
Women 18-49: 2.4/7
Men 18-49: 1.2/4

Presidential Post-Debate Analysis” (ABC)
Women 18-34: 2.1/7
Men 18-34: 1.4/5
Women 18-49: 2.5/7
Men 18-49: 1.9/5

Big Bang Theory” (CBS)
Women 18-34: 2.5/10
Men 18-34: 2.1/9
Women 18-49: 3.8/12
Men 18-49: 3.3/12

Kevin Can Wait” (CBS)
Women 18-34: 1.8/6
Men 18-34: 1.5/6
Women 18-49: 2.8/8
Men 18-49: 2.5/8

Presidential Post-Debate Analysis” (CBS)
Women 18-34: 1.6/5
Men 18-34: 1.4/5
Women 18-49: 2.2/6
Men 18-49: 2.0/6

The Voice” (NBC)
Women 18-34: 2.8/10
Men 18-34: 1.8/8
Women 18-49: 3.8/11
Men 18-49: 2.6/9

Presidential Post-Debate Analysis” (NBC)
Women 18-34: 3.2/10
Men 18-34: 2.6/9
Women 18-49: 4.5/12
Men 18-49: 3.5/10

Gotham” (Fox)
Women 18-34: 0.9/3
Men 18-34: 1.0/4
Women 18-49: 1.1/3
Men 18-49: 1.3/4

First Presidential Debate: Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump” (Fox News Channel)
6.18 household rating
11.427 million viewers

Women 18-34: 1.47
Men 18-34: 1.84
Women 18-49: 2.15
Men 18-49: 2.55

Presidential Post-Debate Analysis” (Fox News Channel)
5.48 household rating
9.975 million viewers

Women 18-34: 1.30
Men 18-34: 1.49
Women 18-49: 1.88
Men 18-49: 2.29

First Presidential Debate: Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump” (CNN)
5.27 household rating
9.935 million viewers

Women 18-34: 2.74
Men 18-34: 3.73
Women 18-49: 3.11
Men 18-49: 4.00

Presidential Post-Debate Analysis” (CNN)
3.93 household rating
6.923 million viewers

Women 18-34: 1.66
Men 18-34: 1.69
Women 18-49: 2.02
Men 18-49: 2.33

First Presidential Debate: Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump” (MSNBC)
2.81 household rating
4.914 million viewers

Women 18-34: 0.76
Men 18-34: 0.91
Women 18-49: 0.99
Men 18-49: 1.24

Presidential Post-Debate Analysis” (MSNBC)
2.48 household rating
4.098 million viewers

Women 18-34: 0.60
Men 18-34: 0.49
Women 18-49: 0.75
Men 18-49: 0.85

First Presidential Debate: Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump” (CNBC)
0.28 household rating
0.525 million viewers

Women 18-34: 0.25
Men 18-34: 0.10
Women 18-49: 0.22
Men 18-49: 0.15

Mary & Jane” (MTV)
Women 18-34: 0.39
Men 18-34: 0.15
Women 18-49: 0.28
Men 18-49: 0.10

Monday Night Football: Atlanta @ New Orleans” (ESPN)
4.88 household rating
8.047 million viewers

Women 18-34: 1.59
Men 18-34: 3.82
Women 18-49: 1.89
Men 18-49: 4.33

WWE Raw” (USA, 8pm)
1.78 household rating
2.850 million viewers

Women 18-34: 0.65
Men 18-34: 0.88
Women 18-49: 0.82
Men 18-49: 1.13

WWE Raw” (USA, 9pm)
1.47 household rating
2.381 million viewers

Women 18-34: 0.54
Men 18-34: 0.74
Women 18-49: 0.68
Men 18-49: 0.90

WWE Raw” (USA, 10pm)
1.37 household rating
2.203 million viewers

Women 18-34: 0.42
Men 18-34: 0.80
Women 18-49: 0.62
Men 18-49: 0.86

Cable Rankings – Monday 9/26/16
What follows are the top 100 most-watched shows in prime time on cable (by order of network) for Monday, September 26:

* Vwrs = Viewers in thousands; V-No. = Prime time rank in viewers; D-No. = Prime time rank in demo (adults 18-49)
V-No.* D-No.* Program Net Start Dur Vwrs* A1849
100 78 THE FIRST 48 A&E 8:00 PM 60 431 0.13
90 64 60 DAYS IN XTRA A&E 9:00 PM 3 470 0.17
46 28 KING OF THE HILL ADSM 9:00 PM 30 736 0.29
34 21 CLEVELAND SHOW ADSM 9:30 PM 30 886 0.39
22 18 AMERICAN DAD ADSM 10:00 PM 30 1088 0.47
17 17 BOB’S BURGERS ADSM 10:30 PM 30 1208 0.54
82 90 YUKON MEN APL 8:00 PM 60 508 0.10
15 16 REAL HOUSEWIVES OF OC BRAVO 9:00 PM 60 1445 0.56
95 69 REAL HOUSEWIVES OF OC BRAVO 10:00 PM 60 459 0.16
74 53 PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE CNBC 9:00 PM 99 525 0.19
9 6 ANDERSON COOPER 360 CNN 8:00 PM 63 3781 1.16
3 1 1ST PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE CNN 9:03 PM 95 9935 3.55
5 4 DEBATE NIGHT IN AMERICA CNN 10:38 PM 82 6923 2.18
42 31 FAST N LOUD DISC 8:00 PM 60 750 0.26
68 38 FAST N LOUD: DEMOLITION DISC 9:00 PM 61 573 0.23
78 50 SACRED STEEL BIKES DISC 10:01 PM 60 517 0.19
30 70 BIZAARDVARK DSNY 8:00 PM 30 926 0.16
24 60 BUNK’D DSNY 8:30 PM 30 981 0.17
25 59 GIRL MEETS WORLD DSNY 9:00 PM 30 965 0.18
33 76 K.C. UNDERCOVER DSNY 9:30 PM 60 891 0.15
40 80 STUCK IN THE MIDDLE DSNY 10:30 PM 30 787 0.12
37 43 DOC MCSTUFFINS DISJR 8:00 PM 25 849 0.22
44 57 SO MUCH YOU CAN DO DISJR 8:25 PM 5 741 0.18
57 74 MY FRIENDS TIGGER & POOH DISJR 8:30 PM 25 655 0.15
73 81 GOLDIE & BEAR DISJR 8:55 PM 25 537 0.11
93 87 LION GUARD DISJR 9:20 PM 25 462 0.10
16 15 MONDAY NIGHT COUNTDOWN L ESPN 6:00 PM 135 1434 0.57
4 2 NFL REGULAR SEASON: ATLANTA / NEW ORLEANS ESPN 8:15 PM 202 8047 3.10
79 73 CHOPPED FOOD 8:00 PM 60 511 0.15
76 62 CHOPPED FOOD 9:00 PM 60 522 0.17
71 56 CHOPPED FOOD 10:00 PM 60 549 0.18
53 84 PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE FBN 9:03 PM 97 682 0.11
74 93 CAVUTO COAST TO COAST FBN 10:40 PM 20 525 0.09
7 13 THE O’REILLY FACTOR FOXNC 8:00 PM 60 4842 0.73
1 3 PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE FOXNC 9:03 PM 97 11427 2.35
2 5 PRES DEBATE/ANALYSIS FOXNC 10:40 PM 20 9975 2.08
43 29 BIG SCREEN MOVIE: BLIND SIDE FRFM 5:30 PM 180 744 0.27
58 32 BIG SCREEN MOVIE: PITCH PERFECT FRFM 8:30 PM 150 648 0.26
88 48 FX MOVIE PRIME: MR. AND MRS. SMITH FX 8:00 PM 180 476 0.20
98 82 LAST MAN STANDING HALL 8:30 PM 30 440 0.11
27 58 AMERICAN PICKERS HIST 8:00 PM 60 953 0.18
56 79 AMERICAN PICKERS HIST 9:00 PM 60 657 0.12
45 67 AMERICAN PICKERS HIST 10:00 PM 63 739 0.16
29 37 TINY HOUSE HUNTERS HGTV 8:00 PM 30 932 0.23
32 44 TINY HOUSE HUNTERS HGTV 8:30 PM 30 902 0.21
31 42 TINY HOUSE HUNTERS HGTV 9:00 PM 30 917 0.22
36 54 TINY HOUSE HUNTERS HGTV 9:30 PM 30 854 0.19
20 36 HOUSE HUNTERS HGTV 10:00 PM 30 1116 0.24
23 30 HOUSE HUNTERS INTERNATIONAL HGTV 10:30 PM 30 1033 0.27
52 63 KILLER INSTINCT WITH CHRIS HANSEN ID 8:00 PM 60 703 0.17
38 47 KILLER INSTINCT WITH CHRIS HANSEN ID 9:00 PM 60 847 0.20
35 33 MIND OF A MURDERER ID 10:00 PM 60 876 0.26
14 24 MSNBC DEBATE PREVIEW MSNBC 7:00 PM 123 1791 0.32
6 7 1ST PRES DEBATE: HEMPSTEAD, NY MSNBC 9:03 PM 97 4914 1.11
8 10 MSNBC DEBATE ANALYSIS MSNBC 10:40 PM 80 4098 0.80
21 14 TEEN MOM SSN 6 MTV 9:00 PM 61 1109 0.66
64 65 WICKED TUNA: OUTER BANKS NGC 9:00 PM 60 601 0.17
96 86 LIVE FREE OR DIE NGC 10:00 PM 60 456 0.10
50 61 SHIMMER AND SHINE NKJR 8:00 PM 30 711 0.17
59 77 SHIMMER AND SHINE NKJR 8:30 PM 30 647 0.14
69 89 BUBBLE GUPPIES NKJR 9:00 PM 30 570 0.10
85 96 BUBBLE GUPPIES NKJR 9:30 PM 30 498 0.08
84 91 TEAM UMIZOOMI NKJR 10:00 PM 24 501 0.10
80 88 TEAM UMIZOOMI NKJR 10:24 PM 24 510 0.10
99 98 WALLYKAZAM! NKJR 10:48 PM 24 433 0.08
49 46 FULL HOUSE NAN 9:00 PM 30 727 0.20
54 41 FULL HOUSE NAN 9:30 PM 30 674 0.22
62 45 FULL HOUSE NAN 10:00 PM 30 616 0.21
55 35 FULL HOUSE NAN 10:30 PM 30 670 0.24
19 55 NICKY, RICKY, DICKY &DAWN NICK 8:00 PM 30 1117 0.18
28 75 GAME SHAKERS NICK 8:30 PM 30 945 0.15
66 68 COPS SPIKE 8:00 PM 30 593 0.16
63 71 COPS (O) SPIKE 8:30 PM 30 604 0.16
91 72 COPS SPIKE 9:00 PM 30 468 0.16
80 49 COPS SPIKE 9:30 PM 30 510 0.20
89 66 COPS (O) SPIKE 10:00 PM 30 473 0.16
77 52 COPS SPIKE 10:30 PM 30 519 0.19
61 51 SYFY MOVIE: SALT SYFY 8:00 PM 120 632 0.19
46 22 FAMILY GUY TBS 8:00 PM 30 736 0.39
60 23 AMERICAN DAD TBS 8:30 PM 30 645 0.35
67 26 AMERICAN DAD TBS 9:00 PM 30 578 0.29
70 25 FAMILY GUY TBS 9:30 PM 30 554 0.31
87 34 FAMILY GUY TBS 10:00 PM 30 478 0.25
18 27 REGULAR SHOW TOON 8:00 PM 30 1142 0.29
26 40 STEVEN UNIVERSE TOON 8:30 PM 30 958 0.22
64 39 TNT BIG PICTURE MOVIES: LIMITLESS TNT 8:00 PM 135 601 0.22
41 92 ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW TVL 7:36 PM 36 767 0.09
51 94 ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW TVL 8:12 PM 36 705 0.08
86 100 EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND TVL 8:48 PM 36 487 0.07
92 95 EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND TVL 9:24 PM 36 464 0.08
83 85 EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND TVL 10:00 PM 30 506 0.11
72 83 EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND TVL 10:30 PM 30 543 0.11
10 9 WWE RAW USA 8:00 PM 60 2850 0.97
11 11 WWE RAW USA 9:00 PM 60 2381 0.79
12 12 WWE RAW USA 10:00 PM 70 2203 0.74
13 8 LOVE & HIP HOP HOLLYWOOD 3 VH1 8:00 PM 60 2102 1.05
39 19 BASKETBALL WIVES LA 5 VH1 9:00 PM 60 790 0.41
48 20 LOVE & HIP HOP HOLLYWOOD 3 VH1 10:00 PM 60 732 0.40
97 97 CSI MIAMI WETV 9:00 PM 60 449 0.08
94 99 CSI MIAMI WETV 10:00 PM 60 461 0.07

Source: Live+Same Day data, Nielsen Media Research

Written by Douglas Pucci

Douglas Pucci (a.k.a. “Son of the Bronx”) has worked with Mr. Berman for more than a decade. A Bronx native, NYU graduate and once-intern for VH1's "Pop Up Video," Pucci went on to design, build and maintain websites for various non-profit organizations in his hometown of New York City. He also contributes to the sports website Awful Announcing.

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  1. Douglas, may you release some GSN primetime/Family Feud numbers for 9/26? I am very curious to how these performed against the Presidential Debate.

    • GSN 9/26, in total viewers (adults 18-49)

      8:00 Family Feud 307k (105k)
      8:30 Family Feud 312k (114k)
      9:00 Family Feud 223k (57k)
      9:30 Family Feud 252k (61k)
      10:00 Family Feud 256k (64k)
      10:30 Idiotest 297k (84k)

  2. Live+3 vs. Live+SD data for Monday 09/26/2016

    Adults 18-49
    …………………………….. L+SD … L+3
    Dancing/Stars ………… 1.79 … 2.13
    Big Bang Theory …….. 3.56 … 5.13
    Kevin Can Wait ………. 2.69 … 3.36
    The Voice ………………. 3.20 … 3.97
    Gotham ………………… 1.18 … 1.94
    Supergirl-r …………….. 0.25 … 0.26
    Supergirl-r …………….. 0.28 … 0.30

    PROGRAMMINGINSIDER.COM

    Total Viewers
    ………………………… L+SD … L+3
    Dancing/Stars ….. 10830 … 12234
    Big Bang Theory . 14242 … 18529
    Kevin Can Wait …. 10623 … 12659
    The Voice …………. 11746 … 13974
    Gotham ………………. 3537 … 5380
    Supergirl-r …………….. 964 … 1003
    Supergirl-r …………… 1110 … 1182