56 million watch Obama's bin Laden speech

2011-05-04 13:01

Los Angeles - More than 56 million Americans watched President Barack Obama's televised address on the death of Osama bin Laden, according to ratings data on Tuesday.

Despite the late hour on Sunday - shortly before midnight on the US East Coast - and the brief notice given before the address, Obama's speech drew more viewers than either of his two State of the Union addresses.

About 56.5 million Americans people tuned in to hear him announce that US forces had killed the al-Qaeda leader in Pakistan, almost 10 years after the September 11 2001, attacks on New York and Washington, Nielsen said in a statement.

The figure was more than double the 25.6 million who watched Obama's nationwide address in March justifying US military action against Libya.

His first State of the Union address, in January 2010, pulled in 48 million viewers; that number fell by 11% to 42.8 million this year. By comparison, American Idol - the most highly rated entertainment show on US television - currently attracts about 25 million viewers per episode.

Obama's announcement, carried live on nine US television networks, sent thousands of rejoicing Americans out onto streets outside the White House, at the site of the fallen World Trade Centre in New York, and into Times Square.

Read more on:    al-qaeda  |  barack obama  |  osama bin laden  |  us  |  security
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