CNN Draws Big Weekend Ratings in Demo with Breaking News Coverage of Continued Protests


CNN Breaking News Coverage of Rayshard Brooks Protests Earns Big Weekend Ratings

CNN drew big weekend ratings on Saturday and Sunday night thanks to its breaking news coverage of a wave of protests this past weekend. Its audience surge came after the network had seen its recent ratings spike slowly ebb away.

Protests over the past few weeks have continued across the country, in the wake of not just the killing of George Floyd, but Breonna Taylor and — just last week — Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta.

According to Nielsen Media Research, CNN topped all other networks on Saturday with its 11:00 p.m. special edition of Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, which earned an impressive 505,000 viewers in the coveted 25 – 54 age demographic. The network’s 10:00 p.m. lead-in also won its time slot with 468,000 viewers in the demo. Fox News came in a strong second in both hours, with 440,000 A25 – 54 viewers from 10:00 p.m. to midnight. Still, Fox edged out CNN in the first two hours of Saturday night’s primetime by a sufficient margin to win the daypart in the demo, with 390,000 to CNN’s 368,000. In overall viewers, Fox also took top honors, with 2.45 million to CNN’s 1.31 million. (MSNBC trailed far behind with 880,000 total viewers and 156,000 in the demo.)

The ratings story was similar on Sunday night, where CNN’s Situation Room breaking news coverage at 8:00 p.m. won its time slot in the demo, handily beating its Fox News competition, Life, Liberty, & Levin, 379,000 to 282,000 viewers, respectively. But in the rest of primetime, CNN’s programming turned away from the Brooks protests and toward specials about the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak, while still continuing its win streak for the night. In 9:00 and 10:00 p.m., CNN scored 383,000 and 350,000 viewers, respectively, bettering Fox News’ 251,000 and 304,000 for the same time periods. On average, CNN won primetime in the demo with 371,000, while Fox took second with 279,000 and MSNBC in third with 132,000.

But in overall viewers, Fox News claimed victory in Sunday primetime, averaging 1.78 million viewers across the three hours, while CNN pulled in 1.25 million, and MSNBC fell short of 700,000 in total.


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