Yesterday’s third US Presidental debate cracked the million viewer mark from midday for the second time in a row. A total of 1.021 million people watched nationally, with 666,000 of those in the metros. It wasn’t quite as many as the 1.011 million who watched the second debate, but it again showed that there is a very high level of interest in what is happening in America.

For the third debate, Seven’s broadcast gathered more viewers (287,000) than any one broadcast channel, but if you added together the figures for ABC (233,000) and News 24 (broken out for the second debate in a row, 151,000), the simulcast on the two channels averaged a very solid 384,000.

In the US the first final figures are now in and the third Presidential sparring match (AKA a debate) grabbed around 71.6 million viewers across the US, second to the 84.4 million plus who watched the first debate, but ahead of the 69 million who watched the second bout. That’s across 12 networks, free to air and cable, and includes NBC which didn’t broadcast the second debate because it chose to stick with its ratings staple, Sunday Night Football (NFL).

Interestingly Fox News was the most watched of the dozen channels broadcasting it with 11.3 million viewers (because its Chris Wallace was the moderator). CNN was the most watched cable channel for the second debate because its Anderson Cooper was one of two moderators, but Fox News went one better on Wednesday night.

US TV analysts also pointed out that this debate’s total audience was higher than the final meeting between President Obama and Mitt Romney in 2012 which averaged 59.2 million viewers. Obama and John McCain in 2008 had 56.5 million viewers.

Seven won total people and the main channels in the metros, and won the regions. Nine won the demos, with Ten doing well with The Bachelorette (who is now a real worry in that some of her scripts would be knocked back on a bad day by a news producer because they are soooo inane. Their rottenness has been apparent form the start, but last night she lurched from cliche to cliche as she realised she has another week to go!). The Bachelorette managed 958,000 national viewers and ninth spot on the national most watched list.

Last night we had to put survive another episode of Silvia’s Italian Table. It averaged 672,000 nationally, with 495,000 in the metros and 177,000 in the regions. There is nothing wrong with Silvia Colloca as TV talent – she is fine. It is the boring, rotten production that shows all the imagination of a table. Last night was all about truth and lies. I cannot hold back: it was a waste of everyone’s time and effort. The food was fine — interesting — but the production was cheap and the guests at times were looking for the floor to open up and eat them. They all worked hard to try and make it interesting, especially Merrick Watts and Ms Colloca, but the use of the whip more than five times in a half hour on unsuspecting TV viewers is banned by Oztam as cruel and unusual punishment (though not in the US where the three Presidential debates definitely breached the US Constitution’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment).

The five most watched programs in the regions were: Seven News with 552,000, Home and Away with 469,000, Seven News/Today Tonight with 451,000, The Chase Australia, 5.30pm, 376,000 and The Big Bang Theory repeat episode 331,000. — Click here to read Glenn Dyer’s full TV Ratings. 

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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