Audience was smaller for Obama's 2nd State of the Union

President Obama delivers the State of the Union address.
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 26, 2011; 9:11 PM

About 43 million people tuned in to watch President Obama rally the nation to "win the future" Tuesday night in his State of the Union address across 11 television networks.

"Sustaining the American dream has never been about standing pat. . . . It has required each generation to sacrifice, and struggle, and meet the demands of a new age. Now it's our turn," Obama said to a TV audience of about 5 million fewer people than watched last year's State of the Union.

Obama's first address to a joint session of Congress, on Feb 24, 2009, remains his record: It attracted 52.4 million viewers.

In calculating Obama's audience, Nielsen included ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, Telemundo, Univision, CNN, Centric, CNBC, Fox News Channel and MSNBC - in the order listed by Nielsen.

Fox News was dominant among cable news networks, averaging 5 million of those 43 million.

Meanwhile, CNN averaged just less than 3 million and MSNBC averaged about 2.5 million.

'Oprah' ratings

Oprah Winfrey continues to pack 'em in for her swan-song season as queen of daytime TV.

Tuesday's edition of her syndicated talk show - in which she talked about discovering that she has a second half sister - delivered to the long-running franchise its biggest audience in nearly six years.

According to early stats, nearly 10 percent of the nation's TV households were tuned in to find out what it was that Oprah - in promos for the episode - called a "shocking family secret" that "literally shook me to the core."

That is the biggest rating for the show since Oprah's post-Academy Awards episode way back in February . . . of 2005.

During the episode, Oprah told her surprised studio audience that she recently found out she had a younger half sister who was given up for adoption at birth in 1963 - when Oprah was living with her father and not aware of her mother's pregnancy.

Heavy lies the crown

"Glee" creator Ryan Murphy decided that the eve of his show's triumphant return with original episodes on Fox - in a highly anticipated post-Super Bowl episode - would be the perfect time to tell the Hollywood Reporter trade paper that the members of the band Kings of Leon are "self-centered [expletives]" who "missed the big picture" for declining to let his show cover one of its tunes.

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