Friday, October 3, 2008

Television Networks Love the VP Debate

Big Ratings for V.P. Debate

Democrats and Republicans are both claiming victory in Thursday’s vice-presidential debate. Soon a third party may cite a win as well: the television networks that showed the event.

Preliminary ratings from Nielsen Media Research indicate strong interest in the matchup between Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Gov. Sarah Palin. In 55 metered markets measured by Nielsen, the debate registered a 45 household rating, meaning that almost half of homes with TV’s were watching the debate.

The vice-presidential candidates apparently beat the contenders at the top of the ticket. Last week’s debate between Barack Obama and John McCain delivered a 31.6 rating.

The early vice presidential numbers are much higher. “If these numbers hold up, this could be one of the most watched debates ever,” Nielsen said Friday afternoon.

National ratings for each network are expected to be released later in the afternoon.

Early ratings released by CNN show the dramatic interest in the Biden-Palin debate. The cable network recorded an audience of 10.6 million viewers for Thursday’s debate, while the same V.P. debate in 2004 only drew 3.3 million viewers to the channel.

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