Fox News won the cable news war in Wednesday’s debate, which was watched by a total of 58 million people — up from 52.4 million for the first debate between President Obama and John McCain in 2008.
For the debate’s 90-minute running time, Fox attracted 10.4 million viewers, compared to slightly more than 6 million for CNN and 4.7 million for MSNBC.
CBS was tops among the networks, according to initial numbers, at 10,176,000 total viewers. ABC was close behind, with 10,117,000 total viewers, and NBC had 9.9 million total viewers. Fox itself garnered nearly 7 million total viewers. The final broadcast numbers for the networks, though, will be released after 4 p.m. Thursday.
Fox News also dominated the 8-11 p.m. time slot, which included pre- and post-debate coverage. The network attracted 8.2 million total viewers during that time, compared to 4.8 million for CNN and 3.9 million for MSNBC.
Neither the 58 million nor the 52.4 million figures include viewers on cable business networks, PBS, C-SPAN, Univision, or other web channels.