UPDATED: Donald Trump was the surprise winner of last night’s Presidential election. So it was probably fitting that the ratings victory went to the network that helped him get there, NBC, where he became a TV star on The Apprentice. With a 7.0 household rating in the metered markets, NBC topped the Big 4 on Tuesday with its primetime coverage of the stunning conclusion of the race between Hillary Clinton and the ex-Apprentice host. NBC also was tops during the 2012 Presidential election night coverage.
Overall, all broadcast networks lost some ground vs. Election Night 2012. NBC posted the biggest decline (7.0, -1.0), followed by No.2 ABC (6.1, -0.6), CBS (4.8, -0.3) and Fox (3.0, -0.1). The combined metered market household rating for the four broadcast networks, 20.9, was down -8.7% from 2012 (22.9) as viewers had more choices to watch the results live, including online, including on the broadcast networks’ platforms, viewership that is currently not factored into their tallies. But the overall ranking of the broadcast nets did not change; in 2012 it was NBC (8.0), ABC (6.7), CBS (5.1) and Fox (3.1).
The order was also the same in the non-time zone adjusted fast-nationals for last night where the four major broadcast networks drew an average of 35 million viewers from 8-11 PM.
In late-night, from 11:30 PM-1 AM, when the prospect of a Donald Trump presidency solidified, the network field was closer together and on par with 2012, with CBS and Fox making strides. NBC (6.3 household ratings) was still No.1 but down by double digits (-1.1 rating) from 2012 (7.4), and barely edging No.1 ABC (6.1, down -0.1). CBS (5.0) bucked the down trend, up+0.4 to close the gap with NBC and CBS significantly. Fox (3.2) also was up vs. 2012, by +0.6. The combined household rating, 20.6, was off just by a -0.2 from 2012.
Anchored by Brian Williams, NBC won the primetime ratings race on Election Night 2012 with 12.12 million viewers with 5.77 million in the news demo of adults 25-54. Fox News Channel was in second place with a total audience of 11.5 million with 4.45 million in the key news demo. Overall, 66.8 million viewers watched live coverage of President Barack Obama’s re-election victory over Mitt Romney on over 13 networks from 8-11 PM on November 6, 2012. ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, PBS, Univision, Telemundo, CNBC, CNN, FOX News Channel, MSNBC, Current TV, and TV One all broadcast the election just over four-years ago.
We’ll update with more ratings later on today. Clinton is speaking on Wednesday morning to give the concession speech she never delivered in the wee hours in NYC.