People may be abandoning network television for cable, and ironically the networks may be abandoning "hard news" trying to compete with cable, but there's still only one place to go for game changing political debates, and folks, it ain't CNN or FNC. Across the big four networks, over 40 million people watched Senator Joe Biden debate politics while Governor Sarah Palin told us all about her favorite color, though I'm tempted to say the big three after the numbers came in.
NBC scored the highest in the demo (3.7) while CBS took the overall crown (6.9/10), but along with ABC, those three were all fairly close in total viewers. Fox couldn't even manage half of what third-place did, which either says a lot about Fox, or about the people who watch Fox. In fact it was so embarrassing that Fox actually tied with The CW when The CW wasn't even showing the debate live, meaning they tied with a regular fictional show (Supernatural I think.)
As for the debate results, snap polling has Biden winning 46% to Palin's 21% with another 30'ish thinking they tied. Consensus has it that Palin spent the entire evening dodging questions with the skill of a 30 year Washington veteran and suffered badly for it with independents and undecided voters who want real answers about the problems facing the country. The truth is that with Senator Obama leading in all national polling and in the projected electoral college, McCain needed Palin needed to win this thing decisively. A tie or a loss was the last thing they needed after the disastrous and now infamous Couric interviews.