brian-williams-election-night-nbc.JPGFast National ratings for Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012

The big four networks drew a slightly smaller audience for their presidential election coverage than in 2008, with NBC taking the top spot from ’08 leader ABC.

ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC averaged a combined 37.1 million viewers in primetime, down from 38.1 million four years ago. Whether the audience migrated to cable or just tuned out remains to be seen — numbers for combined cable and broadcast coverage will be available later in the day.

NBC averaged 12.6 million viewers and a 7.5 rating/11 share among households in primetime, beating out ABC’s 11.15 million and 6.8/10. CBS (8.4 million, 5.3/7) came in third. FOX (4.95 million, 2.9/4) took fourth. The CW scored 1.55 million viewers and a 1.0/1 with repeats and election coverage on some affiliates.

NBC’s election coverage also scored the best adults 18-49 rating with a 4.6. ABC earned a 3.8 in the demographic, followed by CBS, 2.7, and FOX, 2.0. The CW posted a 0.5.

]]>8 p.m. NBC: “2012 Election Night” (11.85 million viewers, 7.0/10 households)
ABC: “Your Voice, Your Vote 2012” (10.35 million, 6.2/9)
CBS: “Campaign 2012” (8.3 million, 5.1/7)
FOX: “You Decide 2012” (4.6 million, 2.7/4)
The CW: “Arrow” rerun (1.8 million, 1.1/2) 18-49 leader: “2012 Election Night” (4.1) 9 p.m. NBC: “2012 Election Night” (12.7 million, 7.5/10)
ABC: “Your Voice, Your Vote 2012” (11.4 million, 6.9/9)
CBS: “Campaign 2012” (8.3 million, 5.2/7)
FOX: “You Decide 2012” (5.3 million, 3.1/4)
The CW: “Emily Owens, M.D.” rerun (1.3 million, 0.8/1) 18-49 leader: “2012 Election Night” (4.8) 10 p.m. NBC: “2012 Election Night” (13.2 million, 8.1/12)
ABC: “Your Voice, Your Vote 2012” (11.7 million, 7.2/11)
CBS: “Campaign 2012” (8.65 million, 5.4/8) 18-49 leader: “2012 Election Night” (5.0)

Ratings information includes live and same-day DVR viewing. All numbers are preliminary and subject to change. Source: The Nielsen Company. More ratings at Zap2it: Daily, weekly and cable