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FNC Sets Audience Mark with 11.5M Viewers for Third Presidential Debate

After nearing the mark with the second of the three presidential debates this cycle, Fox News Channel Monday night scored the largest audience in its 16-year history with its coverage of last night's forum between President Obama and Mitt Romney.

Fox News Channel's presentation of the foreign policy debate from Boca Raton, Fla. averaged 11.5 million viewers from 9 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., according to Nielsen data. The Oct. 22 telecast moved past the 11.1 million who watched FNC's coverage of the 2008 vice presidential debate between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin, as the most-watched telecast in the cable news sector leader's history, and left the Obama-Romney town hall square-off at Hofstra University on Oct. 16 third with 11.08 million watchers. 

FNC's Monday night delivery ranked third overall with the debate coverage, trailing the 12.4 million who watched on NBC and 11.7 million on ABC from 9 p.m. to 10:39 p.m., according to Nielsen fast national data. CBS was fourth with 8.44 million, ahead of the 5.81 million for CNN and just under 3.3 million on MSNBC.

Among adults 25-54, NBC and ABC also set the pace, tallying 5.84 million and 4.36 million of those watchers, respectively. CBS was third in the so-called news demo counting 3.56 million of those viewers, while FNC fourth with 3.43 million, CNN fifth with 2.48 million and MSNBC sixth with 1.35 million, respectively.