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State of the Union Draws 48 Million Viewers

More than 48 million people watched President Obama's first
official State of the Union address on 11 networks (ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC,
Telemundo, Univision, CNN, BET, CNBC, Fox News Channel and MSNBC), according
to Nielsen

That's more than the 40.7 million that tuned in to
Obama's previous primetime speech -- last December's address about a troop
increase in Afghanistan.
But that speech was about one third as long. The State of the Union speech on
Wednesday night (Jan. 27) came in at over an hour. 

Fox, which aired American Idol leading into the
speech, led the broadcast networks from 9-10 p.m. with 9.7 million total
viewers followed by ABC (7.6 million), NBC (7.1 million) and CBS (6.1 million).
Of course, the president could not hold on to much of his Idol lead-in,
which pulled in 24.7 million viewers during the 8 p.m. hour. 

Obama's first State of the Union
was also down 7% compared to President Bush's first official address
on Jan. 29, 2002. That speech averaged 51.7 million viewers and came
only a few months after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. But
Obama managed a 5% increase over President Clinton's first SOTU on
Jan. 25, 1994, which averaged 45.8 million viewers.