The preliminary Nielsens from last night are in, and Barack Obama’s infomercial was the first, second and third most watched program last night at 8 p.m. E.T., finishing in that order on NBC, CBS and Fox respectively. Pushing Daisies trailed in fourth place, but it was up 16% from last week, so there’s a little something for everyone.
The preliminary number, according to the Hollywood Reporter, was a 17.7 rating (21.7 including MSNBC’s airing). As James Hibberd notes, it’s tough to figure out an apt comparison point. It’s higher than the average 15.4 rating the networks’ entertainment programming gets in the time slot. It’s paltry compared with the conventions, or any of the debates. In terms of getting millions of people to watch an ad on purpose, not as bad—if you subscribe to the idea that advertising that people opt into is more effective than in-program commercials sprung on a captive audience.
(I’m surprised, by the way, that Fox didn’t get a higher number, since it followed the O-mercial with the end of the World Series, whereas NBC followed with Deal or No Deal. Audience demographics? Or just better lead-ins on the affiliates?)
And of course in the way campaigns conceive of success—i.e., how it was received by a few thousand elderly white women in Missouri—who knows? We get those numbers in five days.