Barack Obama, Sasha Obama, Malia Obama, Michelle Obama

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So, there was an upset last night, after all. 90210 actually got a rating.

That was no small task, considering a whopping 14 networks amassed a whopping 71.5 million viewers for their coverage of Barack Obama's historic presidential win.

Per Nielsen stats released this afternoon, the election-night audience was up 21 percent over 2004 (59.2 million), and up 16 percent over 2000 (61.6 million).

ABC was Tuesday's top broadcast network, averaging 13.1 million viewers from 8 to 11 p.m. (ET), Nielsen said; CNN carried the cable vote, with 12.3 million.

Drilling down into the numbers:

  • CNN outdrew NBC (12 million), and every campaign-covering network, save ABC.
  • Blue-skewing electoral map or no, Fox News (9 million) was up 11 percent from 2004.
  • Blue-skewing MSNBC (5.9 million) was up, too. By 111 percent.
  • CBS (7.8 million) got lots of press for Katie Couric's grilling of Sarah Palin, but it got fewer election-night viewers than 2004 (down 18 percent).
  • Up against the Obama onslaught from 8 to 9 p.m., the CW's plucky and/or foolish 90210 scored 3 million viewers, only about 500,000 off from its season average.
  • From 9 to 10 p.m., the CW's Privileged (2.3 million) drew more viewers than its season average (2.2 million).

(Originally published Nov. 5, 2008, at 12:45 p.m. PT.)

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