Final Presidential Debate Scores 71.5 Million Viewers, Up From Trump-Clinton 2 (Updated)

PBS ought to add a couple of million more when those Nielsen numbers become available

Last Updated: October 20, 2016 @ 4:08 PM

UPDATED, Thursday, Oct. 20 at 3:31 p.m. ET: The final debate’s final viewership number is now 71.5 million, thanks to the 2.65 million that PBS chipped in.

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The final presidential debate is all set to cross 70 million total viewers, once PBS tune-in is accounted for, that is. That makes it the most-watched third debate in recorded history.

Of course, not every candidate had to do three of these. The previous record for the time that’s supposed to be the charm was 66.9 million from 1992’s three-way between George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Ross Perot.

For now, without the publicly-funded broadcasting station’s numbers included, Trump-Clinton 2 has amassed 68.8 million total viewers. That’s up a few million from the second debate (which landed 66.5 million viewers), but still way down from the record-setting kickoff event (84 million).

Fox News Channel was the most-watched network last night. The cable news net was buoyed at least somewhat by its Chris Wallace moderating the whole thing. Broadcaster ABC was a pretty close second place.

Here’s the channel-selection breakdown based on the information TheWrap currently has available:
Fox News: 11.3 million total viewers
ABC: 11 million
NBC: 10.4 million
CBS: 10.1 million
CNN: 8.7 million
Fox: 6.6 million
MSNBC: 5.5 million
Univision: 2.4 millon
Telemundo: 1.5 million
Fox Business Network: 714,000
CNBC: 559,000

And here are the earlier-reported Nielsen overnights for the three 2016 presidential debates, which not coincidentally also places Wednesday’s battle between the first and second bouts.
Debate 1:  46.2
Debate 2:  37.2*
Debate 3:  39.7
(*NBC sat out the second simulcast to air “Sunday Night Football.”)

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