71 Million Watch Election Coverage in Prime

UPDATED: Fully 71 million watched election coverage Tuesday, says Nielsen, ahead of the 66.8 million who did so on Election Night in 2012.

CNN had 13.26 million total viewers tuning in to its Election Night in America coverage during Tuesday’s primetime, according to Nielsen’s fast nationals. Fox News Channel followed with 12.11 million and MSNBC came in at 5.95 million. In 2012, CNN had 9.25 million total viewers and 4.57 million viewers in the adults 25-54 demo.   

Among adults 25-54 Tuesday night, CNN drew 6.66 million, Fox News had 4.64 million and MSNBC did 2.37 million.

NBC was a power among broadcasters. The network averaged just short of 12 million total viewers in prime Tuesday, per Nielsen. ABC averaged 9.7 million, CBS 8.8 million and Fox 4.5 million.

Expanding the scope from 8 p.m. until 3 a.m., which includes the anchors declaring a winner, Fox News Channel led the cablers with 12.72 million total viewers (5.03 million in 25-54). CNN did 11.52 million (5.88 million in 25-54), and MSNBC 5.29 million (2.2 million in 25-54).

The TV news outfits offered their coverage on a range of platforms. CNN, for one, made its live stream available for free online and via mobile apps for 12 hours. CBS digital platform CBSN drew 19.1 million streams and 11.1 million unique viewers from the start of the day Nov. 8 until 4 a.m. the next morning. 

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.