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Final Trump-Clinton face-off draws 71.6 million viewers, third-most-watched presidential debate in history

Final Trump-Clinton face-off draws 71.6 million viewers, third-most-watched presidential debate in history
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton appear at the final presidential debate Wednesday at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas. (Getty Images)

The third and final presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump had an average audience of about 71.6 million viewers on Wednesday, making it the third-most-watched candidate showdown in history.

The TV audience for the event, held at the Thomas & Mack Center at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, ranks behind the record-setting 84.4 million viewers who watched the first meeting between the candidates on Sept. 26 and the debate between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan on Oct. 28, 1980, which was watched by 80.6 million viewers.

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Source: Nielsen ratings for broadcast and cable only Los Angeles Times Carter/Reagan 80.6 71.6 Oct. 28, 1980 Clinton/Trump 84 million Sept. 26, 2016 Bush/Dukakis 67.3 Oct. 15, 1992 Largest debate audiences Bush/Clinton/Perot 69.9 Sept. 23, 1976 Oct 19, 2016 Ford/Carter 69.7 Oct. 13, 1988 Reagan/Mondale 67.3 Oct. 21, 1984 Obama/Romney 67.2 Oct. 3, 2012 Bush/Clinton/Perot 66.9 Oct. 19, 1992 Obama/Romney 65.6 Oct. 16, 2012 Clinton/Trump 66.5 Oct. 9, 2016 Clinton/Trump File name: la-et-ct-debate-ratings Section: Run date: 9/21/16 Artist: Raoul Ranoa X77192 Size: 2col x 18p7 Source: Nielsen ratings for broadcast and cable only @latimesgraphics Largest presidential debate TV audiences since 1976 0 20 40 60 80 100 Cli n t on/ T rump O b ama/ R omn e y B ush / Cli n t on/ P e r o t O b ama/ R omn e y Mondal e / R e a g an B ush/Dukakis C a r t e r / F o r d B ush / Cli n t on/ P e r o t Cli n t on/ T rump C a r t e r / R e a g an Cli n t on/ T rump Oct. 28, 1980 Sept. 26, 2016 Oct. 19, 2016 Sept. 23, 1976 Oct. 13, 1988 Oct. 15, 1992 Oct. 21, 1984 Oct. 3, 2012 Oct. 19, 1992 Oct. 16, 2012 Oct. 9, 2016 80.6 84 million 69.9 71.6 69.7 67.3 67.3 67.2 66.9 65.6 66.5

Wednesday's debate topped the 66.5 million viewers who tuned in for the Oct. 9 debate between Trump, the Republican nominee, and his Democratic opponent, Clinton, which competed against an NFL "Sunday Night Football" contest on NBC.

The audience for Wednesday's face-off was moderated by "Fox News Sunday" co-anchor Chris Wallace. His network, Fox News Channel, had the largest debate audience on cable or broadcast, with 11.3 million viewers.

ABC ranked second with 11 million viewers, followed by NBC (10.4 million), CBS (10.1 million), CNN (8.7 million), the Fox Broadcasting (6.6 million), MSNBC (5.5 million), PBS (2.6 million), Univision (2.4 million), Telemundo (1.5 million), Fox Business Network (714,000) and CNBC (559,000), according to Nielsen.

Twitter: @SteveBattaglio

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UPDATES:

2:25 p.m.: This article was updated with viewership numbers from Nielsen.

This article was originally published at 12:45 p.m.

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