More than 24 million people tuned in to the four leading broadcast television networks on Tuesday night to watch President Barack Obama address the nation for the final time as its commander-in-chief.
Comcast-owned NBC (CMCSA) lead all broadcast networks by averaging roughly 8.9 million viewers during Obama’s nearly hour-long speech, according to early numbers reported on Wednesday by Nielsen. (Numbers for the various cable networks that also carried Obama’s speech have not yet been released.) ABC (5.7 million viewers) (DIS) and CBS (CBS) (6.7 million) also averaged large viewerships in the 9 p.m. ET time-slot, thanks to Obama’s address, while Fox (FOX) pulled in about 2.8 million viewers.
The speech also aired on cable news networks CNN (TWX), Fox News, and MSNBC, as well as on C-SPAN and PBS, while various live-streams were also available online.
Obama delivered his emotional farewell address from a large event in his hometown of Chicago, which was something of a break from tradition after most previous presidents delivered their own farewells from the White House. In his speech, Obama urged viewers to exhibit optimism about the future of the United States, but also encouraged participation in the political process.
In addition to scoring the top ratings for Obama’s speech, NBC also beat out its rival broadcast networks in the follow-up 10 p.m. ET time-slot. The network’s popular and critically-acclaimed freshman drama This Is Us took the strong lead-in from the president and won the hour by averaging more than 9 million viewers, according to Nielsen.
President-elect Donald Trump will take office on Friday, January 20.