If President Obama were a television show, the network executives might start holding some serious meetings about how to turn his ratings around. Tuesday's State of the Union address was the third consecutive year Obama's overall audience has shrunk, even though the speech was carried on more networks than ever before.
37.569 million viewers tuned in to the speech, according to Nielsen's ratings, released late Wednesday. That translated into a 24.0 rating -- better than American Idol's show the following night, which 21.93 million people watched, but not as good as the NFC Championship game between the New York Giants and the San Francisco 49ers. 57.64 million people watched that game on Fox.
But Obama's numbers are getting worse. Fully 52.37 million watched his first address to a joint session of Congress, on Feb. 24, 2009 (technically not a State of the Union, but at a comparable point in the year). His first official State of the Union, on Jan. 27, 2010, was seen by 48 million people; his second, on Jan. 25, 2011, drew an audience of 42.79 million, according to Neilsen's ratings.
(Subscribers can check out our full list of SOTU Neilsen data, dating back to 1993, compiled by Hotline TV staff writer Chris Peleo-Lazar, here).