Ratings: VP Debate a Big Draw Thursday

Fast National ratings for Thursday, Oct. 2, 2008

The sole debate between vice presidential nominees Joe Biden and Sarah Palin drew a big audience Thursday, with close to 40 million viewers watching on the broadcast networks alone.

CBS led the night overall with a 6.9 rating/10 share, narrowly beating ABC's 6.7/10. NBC finished third with a 5.9/9. FOX and The CW tied for fourth at 2.4/4, with FOX having a slight edge in viewers. Numbers for everyone but The CW may change some due to the live coverage of the debate.

NBC held sway among younger viewers, leading the adults 18-49 demographic with a 3.7 rating. CBS, 3.5, and ABC, 3.3, weren't far behind. FOX averaged 1.6 and The CW 1.5.

"Survivor: Gabon" put CBS on top at 8 p.m. with a 7.7/12. ABC's "Ugly Betty" posted a 5.7/9 to take second. An hour of "My Name Is Earl" averaged 4.4/7 for NBC. "Smallville" drew a 2.5/4 for The CW, relegating FOX's "Hole in the Wall" to last place.

The debate took over the airwaves at 9 p.m. ABC had the biggest total audience with a 7.6/11, but NBC, 7.2/10, led the hour among adults 18-49. CBS was competitive at 7.0/10. FOX's debate coverage was a distant fourth, while The CW got a 2.4/3 from "Supernatural."

ABC held its overall lead at 10 p.m. as the conclusion of the debate and the follow-up analysis scored a 6.7/10. NBC averaged 6.2/10 for the hour and CBS 5.8/9. FOX's numbers for the hour weren't available.

Ratings information is taken from fast national data, which includes live and same-day DVR viewing. All numbers are preliminary and subject to change, especially in the case of live telecasts.