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TV Column
Posted at 05:59 PM ET, 09/05/2012

What was the second most-watched TV program last week? Clint Eastwood & the Chair on Fox News Channel.


Fox News Channel's coverage of Clint Eastwood and the chair (Fox News Channel)
Fox News Channel’s 10 to 11-ish p.m. coverage of Clint Eastwood’s debate with a chair — followed by Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech — was the country’s second most watched TV program last week.

Romney, Eastwood & Chair finished the week trailing only Howard Stern & “America’s Got Talent” on NBC; the telecasts averaged 9.1 million viewers and 9.9 million viewers, respectively.

But FNC wasn’t the only network that brought you Chair, Dotty Harry & Romney; the Republican National Convention coverage was available on at least 11 television networks, which collectively averaged 30.3 million viewers, according to Nielsen, beating four nights of NBC’s London Summer Games coverage from 10 to 11-ish.

(Nielsen ratings include numbers for ABC, CBS, CNN, FNC, Current TV, MSNBC, mun2, NBC, PBS and Univision; C-SPAN is not rated).

The political conventions might not be what they used to be, but in a summer of flatlining ratings, the RNC was, relatively speaking, Must See TV.

Fox News Channel’s RNC coverage accounted for three of the week’s Top 10 TV prime-time programs in the country. It’s Wednesday 10 to 11-ish coverage of VP candidate Paul Ryan’s speech (7.7 million viewers) ranked sixth; Tuesday’s 10 to 11-ish coverage of Ann Romney’s address (6.9 million) ranked eighth.

One week after cleaning up with the Republican convention, FNC got hammered on the first night of the Democrat convention, when the 10 p.m.-hour headliner was first lady Michelle Obama. Yes, FNC’s average audience of 2.4 million at 10 was a bigger haul than any night of RNC coverage on, say, CNN. But FNC still finished well behind Tuesday’s pack-leader NBC, as well as MSNBC, CNN, CBS and ABC. Yes, once again, the TV audience is seriously polarized during the election cycle, with TV news now Affirmation TV.

Based on early numbers, it appears that the first night of the DNC starring Michelle Obama attracted more viewers than the first night of the RNC featuring Ann Romney. Collectively across the abovementioned six networks, Tuesday’s DNC averaged just less than 23 million folks. Nielsen says the first night of the RNC averaged 22.3 million at 10, and it’s also including Current TV and PBS — two networks whose DNC numbers were not available at press time.

By  |  05:59 PM ET, 09/05/2012

 
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