Adding up audience figures from ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, CNN, FOX News Channel, Headline News and MSNBC, Nielsen Media Research estimates 67.6 million Americans watched Clinton's four-minute confession, according to final total-viewer data released Wednesday. For CNN, Bill Clinton is the biggest thing since O.J. Simpson. Cable News Network says Nielsen data indicate nearly 5.5 million people tuned in to the network to watch the Prez. The speech was CNN's highest-rated show since the O.J. Simpson verdict of October 3, 1995.
Since the Monica Lewinsky story broke in January, the major networks have devoted more than 19 hours of their evening news time to the scandal -- precisely 1,155 minutes, in 703 stories -- according to the Center for Media and Public Affairs. That's more coverage than the networks gave to the Asian economic crisis, nuclear testing by India and Pakistan, the UAW strike against General Motors, the peace accord in Northern Ireland, the President's trip to China, the Pope's visit to Cuba, the Winter Olympics and Viagra combined.