TV ratings: NBC leads Election Night but 2012 coverage down a little from '08

brian-williams-election-night-nbc.JPGFast National ratings for Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012

The big four networks drew a slightly smaller audience for their presidential election coverage than in 2008, with NBC taking the top spot from '08 leader ABC.

ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC averaged a combined 37.1 million viewers in primetime, down from 38.1 million four years ago. Whether the audience migrated to cable or just tuned out remains to be seen -- numbers for combined cable and broadcast coverage will be available later in the day.

NBC averaged 12.6 million viewers and a 7.5 rating/11 share among households in primetime, beating out ABC's 11.15 million and 6.8/10. CBS (8.4 million, 5.3/7) came in third. FOX (4.95 million, 2.9/4) took fourth. The CW scored 1.55 million viewers and a 1.0/1 with repeats and election coverage on some affiliates.

NBC's election coverage also scored the best adults 18-49 rating with a 4.6. ABC earned a 3.8 in the demographic, followed by CBS, 2.7, and FOX, 2.0. The CW posted a 0.5.

Photo/Video credit: NBC