An estimated 30 million watch Romney’s speech

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LOS ANGELES (AP) - Ratings for the final night of the Republican National Convention, which featured Mitt Romney and Clint Eastwood, weren’t a blockbuster.

An estimated 30.3 million viewers watched Thursday’s coverage over 11 networks, Nielsen Co. said Friday. The event included presidential candidate Romney’s acceptance speech and Eastwood’s faux interview with an absent President Barack Obama.

Four years ago, John McCain’s acceptance speech at the GOP meeting was viewed by more than 40 million over seven networks.

Fox News Channel was by far the most-watched network in the 10 to 11 p.m. Eastern hour and throughout the Tampa, Fla., convention.

The channel also beat the broadcast networks at Republican conventions in 2004 and `08, but the margin is widening.

On Thursday, Fox News Channel drew 9.1 million viewers, compared with 4.4 million for ABC, 3.9 million for NBC, 3.7 million for CBS, 2.3 million for CNN and 1.9 million for MSNBC.

Ratings for Fox held steady vs. its 2008 final night coverage, down just 2 percent.

Other networks dipped in viewership, some sharply, with NBC and CNN down more than 50 percent, CBS down 30 percent, ABC down 26 percent and MSNBC down 25 percent compared with four years ago.

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