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Nielsen: 31 million viewers saw Trump's swearing-in

Associated Press logo Associated Press 1/21/2017
President Donald Trump waves as he walks with first lady Melania Trump during the inauguration parade on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, Friday, Jan. 20, 2016. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, Pool) © The Associated Press President Donald Trump waves as he walks with first lady Melania Trump during the inauguration parade on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, Friday, Jan. 20, 2016. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, Pool)

NEW YORK (AP) — Nielsen estimates 31 million viewers watched TV coverage of President Donald Trump's inauguration on Friday.

That audience total, measuring continuous coverage by 12 broadcast and cable networks, soundly beat the 20.6 million who viewed President Barack Obama's second inauguration in 2013. But a president's second swearing-in typically logs a drop-off in viewership. Obama's first inauguration in 2009 was seen by 37.8 million people.

NBC was the most-watched broadcast network with 5.8 million viewers, followed by ABC (4.9 million) and CBS (4.6 million).

On cable, Fox News Channel was far ahead, with 8.43 million viewers. CNN had 2.46 million and MSNBC had 1.35 million.

The most-watched inauguration since 1969 was President Ronald Reagan's first oath-taking in 1981, which was seen by 41.8 million people.

The debates between Trump and Hillary Clinton were watched by record numbers of viewers, with 84 million people tuning in to the highest-rated first debate in September 2016. However, daytime television has far fewer viewers than prime time.

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