According to the Nielsen Co., Barack Obama's Wednesday night infomercial drew about 33.6 million people across the networks: CBS, FOX, NBC, Univision, BET, MSNBC, and TV One.
On ABC, "Pushing Daisies" drew about 6.7 million viewers, the show's largest viewership of the season. On the CW, "America's Next Top Model" drew 3.9 million viewers.
Also, according to a Nielsen press release from this morning:
* Overall, for the six networks that aired the program simultaneously, the spot had a household rating of 21.7% (meaning that 21.7 percent of all households watching television were tuned to the spot) in the top 56 local markets. In Boston, the rating was 25.7 -- meaning that just over a quarter of local households tuned in.
* In comparison, the final debate between the two presidential candidates received a 38.3 household rating in the top 56 local TV markets. The candidates’ first debate on September 26 received a 34.7 household rating in the top 55 markets; their second debate, on October 7, received a 42.0 household rating in those markets.
* The last presidential candidate to air a paid simulcast was Ross Perot in 1996, which received a national household rating of 16.8.
* Last night, the Baltimore market had the largest TV audience, with a household rating of 31.3, while the Portland (Oregon, not Maine) market had the lowest household rating: 14.2.
So, in the end, did you watch? And what did you think? My own take was that it was as safe as expected: standard soaring music; typical images of hardworking, struggling families; no departure from Obama's campaign message. (And of course he wasn't going to address any rumors or controversies. What would be the purpose in that?) Of course, I wasn't the intended audience -- this was clearly aimed as an introduction/overview for people who haven't been following the race closely.
If you're one of those people, I'd love to hear your impressions of the half-hour ad. If you're already a partisan, one way or the other, I issue a humble request for restraint. Fair warning: I'm not posting any comments, from either side, that involve name-calling.