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Verdict Was Viewed In 41 Million Homes

The ratings confirm what everyone already knew: The O.J. Simpson verdict swept up a huge TV audience.

The live telecast of the jury’s acquittal got a 42.9 rating, according to Nielsen Media Research figures released Wednesday. That means 42.9 percent of the nation’s TV homes - a total of about 41 million - were tuned to Judge Lance Ito’s courtroom on Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. PDT.

The audience share was a spectacular 91 percent. That is, 91 percent of TVs in use at that time were tuned to the proceedings.

The most-viewed news events are coverage of the first moon landing and the events following President Kennedy’s death, both of which received a 90 rating, said David Poltrack, CBS vice president for research.