Ratings conundrum: Obama did better on Fox than on MSNBC

Miami HeraldSeptember 11, 2008 

In a confounding Nielsen paradox Monday night, Barack Obama's interview with presumed enemy Bill O'Reilly had more than twice as many viewers as his interview with presumed pal Keith Olbermann.

The two taped interviews aired head-to-head at 8 p.m. Eastern and O'Reilly's show on Fox News drew 4.6 million viewers compared to the 1.9 million who tuned into Olbermann's show on MSNBC.

Obama's decision to talk to O'Reilly has certainly paid off for both the candidate and Fox News.

The first hour of the interview, which aired on Sept. 3, pulled in 6.6 million viewers and was O'Reilly's second-most-watched show of all time.

By the time the third and final hour airs Wednesday, the interview will have been seen by something in excess of 13 million viewers — a significant number of them, I'd guess, getting their first in-depth look at either Fox News or Obama.

Garvin is the Miami Herald's TV critic. Read his Changing Channels blog here.

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