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TV ratings for vice presidential debate lowest since 2000

October 5, 2016

About 37 million people watched the vice presidential debate on broadcast and cable channels, making the matchup between Indiana Governor Mike Pence and Virginia Senator Tim Kaine the lowest-rated since 2000, according to Nielsen.

Comcast Corp.’s NBC was the most-watched network, drawing more than 7 million viewers for the contest.

Here’s how the top broadcast and cable networks fared (audience in millions): NBC 7.028; CBS 6.462; ABC 6.149; Fox News 6.065; CNN 4.140; MSNBC 3.122.

It was the smallest audience for a vice presidential debate since 2000, when 29 million people watched Dick Cheney and Joe Lieberman square off. An estimated 51.4 million people watched the 2012 vice-presidential debate between Joe Biden and Republican Representative Paul Ryan, while about 70 million tuned in for the 2008 encounter between Biden and then-Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, according to Nielsen.

The first presidential debate between Clinton and Trump on Sept. 26 drew a record political audience of at least 84 million viewers, according to Nielsen.

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