Presidential Debate Ratings: Fox News Tops Cable Coverage

Fox News averages 11.1 million total viewers with coverage of Obama-Romney showdown

Fox News scored a commanding victory over the other major cable networks with its coverage of the second presidential debate Tuesday night, besting its nearest competitor by nearly a two-to-one margin.

Getty ImagesFox's debate coverage averaged 11.1 million total viewers, according to early numbers from Nielsen Media Research. That number far and away beats second-place CNN, which averaged 5.8 million total viewers, and third-place MSNBC, which averaged 4.9 million total viewers.

Tuesday's debate yielded Fox's best numbers for the debates so far this year and matched the 2008 vice presidential debate between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin, which also averaged 11.1 million total viewers.

In the key news demo of 25-54, the disparity was less drastic, but Fox still took top honors, with 3.5 million in the demo, versus CNN's 2.6 million and MSNBC's 1.9 million.

The first showdown between President Obama and Mitt Romney earlier this month was previously Fox's most-watched presidential debate on record, drawing 10.4 million total viewers.

Fox News' debate coverage also performed competitively with the networks, besting CBS and Fox Broadcast in total viewers.