People like to say that Americans are ignorant of the news and their government, but the numbers don't necessarily bear that out. Sure, there are lots of folks who tune into American Idol or The Big Bang Theory, but when the chips are down and there's an election on, you can count on people in the U.S. to do their civic duty and pay attention.
According to Variety, roughly 65.6 million people watched the second debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney on Tuesday night. For comparison's sake, singing competition The Voice garnered roughly 12 million sets of eyeballs, so there's no need to make snide jokes about what your fellow Americans are tuning into.
The debate broadcast is interesting for a number of reasons, though. First, there were no commercial breaks, so it wasn't as if networks could sell advertising time during it. Second, there was no single channel that had the right to the debate to begin with. For instance, FOX News broke a viewership record of its own on Tuesday, but that was with only 11 million people. Plenty of other folks set their dials to ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN and MSNBC, as well as streaming the debate on the internet via YouTube or C-SPAN.