In the first week of extensive live coverage of the uprising in Egypt, CNN got a ratings bump, knocking MSNBC into third place overall in the critical demographic of viewers 25-54–but Fox News quietly cleaned up, attracting more viewers than CNN and MSNBC combined on a hard news story.
According to Nielsen ratings data from Monday through Thursday of last week (Friday numbers will be released today), Fox News averaged 628,000 viewers 25-54 in primetime, compared to CNN’s 341,000 and MSNBC’s 254,000.
The network’s powerful performance included two nights when ratings champ Bill O’Reilly was off, which likely resulted in slightly lower numbers than normal, but that didn’t seem to matter in the end as Fox News also led in terms of total viewers, with 2,452,000 in primetime, compared to CNN’s 959,000 and MSNBC’s 961,000.
The ratings data put in new light what had been seen by some as a victory for CNN, with Anderson Cooper‘s videotaped escape from a punch-throwing mob getting repeatedly play–on CNN and elsewhere–and the network’s primetime shows (including, notably, the previously ratings-challenged Parker Spitzer) showing signs of life, edging out their MSNBC counterparts.
But with the exception of AC 360, none of CNN’s shows last week were been able to outperform any of the competing shows on Fox News.
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