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Obama’s Oct. 29 Simulcast Follows In Perot’s Footsteps
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Obama’s Oct. 29 Simulcast Follows In Perot’s Footsteps

Sen. Barack Obama will reportedly run a half-hour paid political simulcast on CBS and NBC, just days before the U.S. presidential election.

Obama’s simulcast would be the first to be aired by a presidential candidate since Ross Perot ran a series of 15 political telecasts during the 1992 presidential election.

Perot’s 1992 telecasts drew an average audience of 11.6 million viewers — 4.6% of all viewers nationwide.  His one simulcast, carried on ABC and CBS on November 2, 1992 between 8pm and 8:30pm, attracted 26 million viewers.

Paid Political Telecasts

By Ross Perot

Network Start Time Viewers (P2+) P2+ Rating
PEROT PAID POLITICAL – 10/06/1992 CBS 8:00 PM 16,160,712 6.7
PEROT PAID POLITICAL – SAT-10/24/1992 CBS 8:00 PM 14,530,588 6.0
PEROT FOR PRESIDENT – 11/02/1992 CBS 8:00 PM 14,015,947 5.8
PEROT ’92 – 10/09/1992 ABC 9:30 PM 13,892,800 5.8
ROSS PEROT – SUN-11/01/1992 NBC 7:00 PM 13,874,729 5.8
PEROT ’92 – THUR-10/22/1992 ABC 8:30 PM 13,318,749 5.5
ROSS PEROT – 10/16/1992 NBC 10:30 PM 12,855,896 5.3
PEROT ’92 – MON-10/26/1992 ABC 8:00 PM 12,109,311 5.0
PEROT ’92 – MONDAY-11/02/1992 ABC 8:00 PM 12,012,162 5.0
PEROT ’92 – SAT-10/17/1992 ABC 8:00 PM 11,081,828 4.6
ROSS PEROT SPL – 10/23/1992 NBC 8:00 PM 10,575,782 4.4
ROSS PEROT – MON-11/02/1992 NBC 10:00 PM 10,517,112 4.4
PEROT ’92 – SUN-11/01/1992 ABC 7:00 PM 10,244,811 4.3
PEROT PAID POLITICAL – WED-10/28/1992 CBS 11:30 PM 4,891,537 2.0
PEROT PAID POLITICAL – TUE-10/27/1992 CBS 11:30 PM 3,480,826 1.4
Source: The Nielsen Company (October 9, 1992 – November 2, 1992).

Obama’s October 29 simulcast would also air between 8pm and 8:30pm.  During the last four weeks, that daypart has drawn an average of 6.3 million viewers on CBS and 9.3 million viewers on NBC.

Political TV broadcasts have drawn unusually large audiences this year.  The October 7 debate between Senators McCain and Obama drew 63.2 million viewers less than a week after Sen. Joe Biden and Gov. Sarah Palin set a new V.P. debate TV audience record: 69.9 million viewers. 

In August and September, nearly two-thirds of all U.S. households (64.5%) — 120.1 million people age two or older — watched at least one of the political conventions.