Primetime Coverage on NBC Delivers its Highest Total Audience and Demo Deliveries in a First General Election Presidential Debate Since 1992 NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt Averages 8.4 Million Total Viewers on Monday, +1 Million More than ABC TODAY Averages 4.3 Million Total Viewers, +203,000 More than ABC

NEW YORK (September 27, 2016) – More Americans tuned to NBC News and MSNBC combined for coverage of the first presidential debate than any other broadcast or cable television network. According to Nielsen Media Research fast national data, the two networks drew a combined total of 23.1 million total viewers. NBC led the broadcast and cable networks across the board for the first 2016 presidential debate and achieved its highest total audience and A25-54 demo deliveries in a first general election presidential debate since 1992.

The NBC News broadcast network coverage (9-10:39 pm ET) averaged 18.2 million total viewers, outperforming ABC by 4.6 million (+34%) and CBS by 6.1 million (+50%). Among A25-54 viewers, NBC News averaged 8.3 million viewers, leading ABC by 3.5 million (+73%) and CBS by 3.6 million (+75%). In A18-49, NBC averaged 7.5 million, topping ABC by 3.1 million (+72%) and CBS by 3.6 million (+91%). MSNBC’s coverage of the debate (9-10:39pm ET) averaged 4.9 million total viewers, 1.58 million A25-54 viewers and 1.4 million A18-49 viewers.

Earlier on Monday, “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” averaged 8.4 million total viewers, outperforming ABC by 1 million and CBS by 1.7 million. “TODAY” averaged 4.3 million total viewers, outperforming ABC by 203,000 and CBS by 789,000.

“NBC Nightly News” anchor Lester Holt moderated the first presidential debate. Savannah Guthrie and Chuck Todd anchored NBC News’ primetime coverage, joined by Tom Brokaw, and others. Rachel Maddow and Brian Williams anchored MSNBC’s coverage, joined by Chris Matthews and the full team of NBC News and MSNBC correspondents and contributors.

SEPTEMBER 26, 2016

Broadcast Specials: 9-10:39 p.m. ET

Total Viewers A25-54 Rating A25-54 Viewers A18-49 Rating A18-49 Viewers
NBC 18.1566.938.3235.827.462
CBS 12.0823.954.7503.043.898
ABC 13.5214.004.8023.394.349

Cable Primetime: 9-10:45 p.m. ET

Total Viewers A25-54 Rating A25-54 Viewers A18-49 Rating A18-49 Viewers
MSNBC 4.8951.311.5761.101.413
CNN 9.8043.694.4353.504.488
FNC 11.3592.933.5252.332.990

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More Americans watch NBC News and MSNBC than any news organization in the world. NBC News is a global leader in news across all broadcast and digital platforms. Its leading and award-winning television news broadcasts include NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, TODAY, Meet the Press, and Dateline, as well as primetime specials and breaking news reports. For the 2015-2016 season, all four NBC News broadcasts were #1 in the key news demo. MSNBC is the premier cable destination for breaking and live news coverage, in-depth analysis, and influential voices – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The rapidly-growing NBC News Digital Group, along with the SiriusXM TODAY Show and MSNBC radio channels and NBC News Radio on the iHeartMedia 24/7 News Network, provide continuous content to consumers wherever they are, whenever they want it.

NBC News is part of the NBCUniversal News Group, a division of NBCUniversal, which is owned by Comcast Corporation. For more information about NBCUniversal, please visit

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