Third debate draws smaller audience

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The final debate between president Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney drew the smallest viewership of their three primetime clashes.

According to Nielsen Media Research, 59.2 million viewers tuned in Monday night for the foreign policy discussion.

That’s down 10 percent from the contentious second presidential debate on Oct. 16 and down 12 percent from the first debate on Oct. 3. Nielsen points out the debate aired against two live sporting events — Monday Night Football on ESPN, which had 10.7 million people tuning in, and baseball playoffs on Fox, which had 8.1 million.

The telecast was carried on 11 networks from Lynn University in Florida and moderated by CBS’ Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer. Here’s how some of the major channels stacked up:

NBC: 12.4 million
ABC: 11.7 million
Fox News: 11.5 million
CBS: 8.4 million
CNN: 5.8 million
MSNBC: 4.1 million

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