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News Organizations Cover the Vice Presidential Debate


The Nielsen Company
October 5, 2016

37 Million Viewers Tune in to Kaine And Pence Vice Presidential Debate

An estimated 37 million people tuned in to watch the vice presidential debate of the 2016 presidential election on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016. The debate was hosted at Longwood University in Farmville, V.A., and featured Democratic V.P. Nominee Tim Kaine and Republican V.P. Nominee Mike Pence.

While coverage varied by network, nine aired live coverage from approximately 9:00 pm ET to 10:30 pm ET.

In terms of the social nature of the debate, there were 4.8 million Twitter Interactions from 640,000 people in the U.S. related to the "Vice Presidential Debate" on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016, according to Nielsen. Those Tweeting about the debate sent 7.5 Tweets on average.

The chart below highlights the sum of the average audience for these networks during common coverage.

2016 Vice Presidential Debates

Sum of Networks Live + Same Day
  Oct. 4, 2016
  Rating Number of Viewers
All Households 23.5 27,605,000
Persons 2+ 12.2 37,160,000
Persons 18-34 4.9 3,422,000
Persons 35-54 12.6 10,050,000
Persons 55+ 25.1 22,234,000

2016 Networks Included:

ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, PBS, CNN, Fox Business Network, FNC and MSNBC

NOTE: Data above is inclusive of broadcast and cable networks, as well as PBS member stations. Common coverage of ad-supported networks only was 35.7 million viewers P2+.

2012 Vice Presidential Debates

Sum of Networks Live + Same Day    
  Oct. 11, 2012
  Rating Number of Viewers
Persons 2+ 17.7 51,419,000

2012 Networks Included:


October 5, 2016


CNN also #1 during Prime Time and Post-Debate Coverage Blocks among Adults 25-54


CNN’s coverage of the Vice Presidential debate last night easily beat Fox News and MSNBC in both adults 25-54 and among millennials (18-34).  During the debate, CNN had 1.680 million, Fox News was second with 1.506 million and MSNBC lagged with 908k among adults 25-54.  Among millennials, CNN was top rated as well, with 561k, Fox News followed with 340k and MSNBC was third with 236k.

CNN was also #1 in cable news during Prime Time (8-11pm) last night with 1.303m, Fox News trailed with 1.191m and MSNBC was third with 738k among the key demo adults 25-54.

CNN also outperformed the other cable news networks during the post-debate coverage block (10:30pm-1:00am) among adults 25-54 with 942k, Fox News followed with 829k and MSNBC was third with 505k.

CNN Digital’s live stream of the VP Debate reached nearly one million starts across, CNNgo and mobile apps. On the same day CNN Digital also saw more than 15 million unique multiplatform visitors and 13 million video starts across digital platforms — far outranking both the 2012 and 2008 VP Debate performance.


National Public Radio
Oct. 4, 2016

NPR's Debate Fact-Checker Breaks Records, Partners with PBS for Veep Debate

Make & Your Second Screen for the Presidential Debate Coverage

Tuesday, October 4; Washington D.C.  NPR's real-time online fact-checking tool attracted millions of readers during last week's debate, drawing 7.4 million page views from more than 6 million users over Monday and Tuesday – NPR's largest two web traffic days ever.

NPR's online fact-checking delivers live, annotated transcripts and fact-checks courtesy of more than 24 journalists from NPR's team of experts in specialties ranging from national security, to immigration, to climate issues. On air fact-checkers include White House correspondent Scott Horsley, political reporter Scott Detrow, business correspondent Jim Zarroli, justice correspondent Carrie Johnson, health policy correspondent Alison Kodjak and more.

Starting with tonight's vice-presidential debate, NPR will make its fact-checking tool available at Additionally, will be hosting PBS NewsHour's live video stream from the debates. This is part of the NPR and PBS partnership for Elections 2016.

"The success of NPR's online fact-checking proved what we already knew to be true – amidst all the dubious claims, mistruths and punditry there is a real appetite for the truth," said Michael Oreskes, NPR's SVP of News and Editorial Director. "NPR exceptional coverage of these debates has already garnered a record breaking audience, and we hope to increase those numbers by making our fact-checker available via We are inviting viewers to make
NPR's fact-checker your so-called 'second-screen' while watching these debates. Our goal is to provide fair minded reporting and insightful analysis, so that listeners and viewers have the tools and information to make their own choices."

NPR News coverage and fact checking will be available to listeners and viewers on Member station broadcasts, online at,, at, on the NPR Politics Podcast, and on your mobile device with the
 NPROne app.

See stations and broadcast times at (Special coverage for each debate is live from 9-11pm ET). This special coverage will stream live on and through NPR One.

Follow NPR Politics on Twitter (@nprpolitics) and 
Facebook and NPR on Snapchat (@npr) for live updates, photos and reports from the field.

WATCH LIVE: The 2016 Vice Presidential Debate

About NPR

NPR connects to audiences on the air, online, and in person. More than 26 million radio listeners tune in to NPR each week and more than 30 million unique visitors access each month making NPR one of the most trusted sources of news and insights on life and the arts. NPR shares compelling stories, audio and photos with millions of social media users on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and Snapchat; NPR News and NPR One apps, online streaming, podcasts, iTunes radio and connected car dashboards help meet audiences where they are. NPR's live events bring to the stage two-way conversations between NPR hosts and the audience in collaboration with the public radio Member Station community. This robust access to public service journalism makes NPR an indispensable resource in the media landscape.

About PBS NewsHour

PBS NewsHour is seen by over four million weekly viewers and is also available online, via public radio in select markets, and via podcast. PBS NewsHour is a production of NewsHour Productions LLC, a wholly-owned non-profit subsidiary of WETA Washington, D.C., in association with WNET in New York. Major funding for PBS NewsHour is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, PBS and public television viewers. Major corporate funding is provided by BNSF, Lincoln Financial Group, MD Anderson Cancer Center, XQ Institute, and 23andMe, with additional support from Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, the J. Paul Getty Trust, the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Lemelson Foundation, National Science Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Ford Foundation, Skoll Foundation, Friends of the NewsHour and others. More information on PBS NewsHour is available at On social media, visit NewsHour on Facebook or follow @NewsHour on Twitter.

About PBS Election 2016
PBS Election 2016 is a year-long, cross-platform initiative that brings together PBS' news, public affairs, documentary and digital programming to create a comprehensive look at the 2016 election cycle. Acclaimed series PBS NEWSHOUR, FRONTLINE and WASHINGTON WEEK, as well as new and returning series and specials such as THE CONTENDERS – 16 FOR '16 and AMERICA BY THE NUMBERS, will cover breaking news, provide context for political issues and explore behind-the-scenes stories of the candidates and the election process. PBS Election 2016 also includes a partnership with NPR in which the two organizations will share information across broadcast, radio and digital platforms.

Ben Fishel, NPR Media Relations

Oct. 3, 2016

CNN To Live Stream The Vice Presidential Debate on

CNN will live stream the vice presidential debate on’s homepage, across mobile devices and via apps on iOS and Android, starting at 8:00pm ET. The live stream will add to CNN Politics' live coverage and analysis including updates from CNN’s Reality Check team.

FOX News Channel


Bret Baier and Megyn Kelly to Co-Anchor Special Weekend Primetime Coverage 

Debate Livestream will be Available Without Authentication on Digital Platforms 

FOX News Channel (FNC) will present special live programming leading up to the second presidential debate on Sunday, October 9th between nominees Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton from Washington University in St. Louis. Beginning this weekend, coverage will be available on FNC, as well as on additional platforms, including FOX News Radio, FOX News Mobile and, where the debate will livestream for free without authentication.

FNC’s signature programs and primetime line-up will have special Sunday telecasts live from the debate site throughout the day. Special Report’s Bret Baier and The Kelly File’s Megyn Kelly will headline primetime debate coverage live from inside the debate hall beginning at 9PM/ET through 11PM/ET. Baier and Kelly will be joined by a team of commentators for post-debate analysis, including The Five’s Dana Perino and political contributors Laura Ingraham, Juan Williams and Tucker Carlson.

FOX & Friends will kick off Sunday’s schedule followed by on-location editions of MediaBuzz, America’s Election Headquarters with Bill Hemmer and Martha MacCallum, Shepard Smith Reporting, Your World with Neil Cavuto and The Five.

Additionally, Bret Baier will anchor Special Report (6PM/ET) live from St. Louis on both Saturday and Sunday while On the Record (7PM/ET), The Kelly File (11PM/ET) and Hannity (12AM/ET) will all have special Sunday programs from Washington University. The O’Reilly Factor will telecast live from New York at 8PM/ET.

FNC’s special programming originating from Washington University will include: 

Sunday, October 9th  

6-9AM/ET – FOX & Friends 

11AM/ET Mediabuzz

12-2PM/ET – America’s Election Headquarters with Bill Hemmer and Martha MacCallum

3PM/ET – Shepard Smith Reporting

4PM/ET Your World with Neil Cavuto

5PM/ET – The Five

6PM/ET – Special Report with Bret Baier

7PM/ET – On the Record with Brit Hume

8PM/ET – The O’Reilly Factor [to originate from NY]

9-11PM/ET – Presidential Candidates Debate, co-anchored by Bret Baier and Megyn Kelly

11PM/ET – The Kelly File

12/ET – Hannity 

FOX News Radio will also feature special coverage of the presidential debate from 8PM-12AM/ET with host Jared Halpern and political analyst Tony Sayegh. Fox News Headlines 24/7, on SiriusXM Channel 115, will have live reports as well as “instant highlights” – the best moments from each debate, even as they are still underway.

FOX News Channel (FNC) is a 24-hour all-encompassing news service dedicated to delivering breaking news as well as political and business news.  A top five cable network, FNC has been the most-watched news channel in the country for more than 14 years and according to a Suffolk University/USA Today poll, is the most trusted television news source in the country. Owned by 21st Century Fox, FNC is available in more than 90 million homes and dominates the cable news landscape, routinely notching the top ten programs in the genre.


FOX News Media Contacts:

Carly Shanahan

Jamie Rokus