Monday’s debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump was seen by an estimated 84 million viewers across 13 broadcast and cable networks, according to Nielsen, making it the most-watched debate in history. The 1980 encounter between Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter was seen by 80.6 million.
The bulk of viewers watched on the four major broadcast networks, with 49.1 million tuning in. An estimated 26.2 million watched the three cable news networks with Fox News (11.4 million) attracting the most viewers.
The bulk of viewers watched on the network-owned stations, but other networks simulcast the debate, including Fox News, Fox Business, CNN, PBS, CNBC, MSNBC, Univision, Telemundo and AZA. (Nielsen did not count C-SPAN, which also aired the debate.) The networks’ websites also simulcast the debate. Numerous other websites, from BuzzFeed to Yahoo, streamed the debate, but those numbers are not counted by Nielsen.
Nielsen did say there were 17.1 million Twitter interactions from 2.7 million people in the United States related to the “Presidential Debate” on Monday.
Pundits in recent days had thrown around a figure of 100 million viewers as the benchmark that could be possibly be achieved, or even exceeded.