The never-ending coverage of the Iowa Caucus results reached well into “wee hour” territory on early Wednesday morning, inadvertently creating some of the most enjoyable election coverage in recent memory. Ed Schultz praised Rick Santorum on MSNBC (and Al Sharpton referred to Mitt Romney as “Willard”), while CNN’s cast of hundreds got loopy late, and made two unwitting stars out of Iowans Edith Pfeffer and Carolyn Talett.
While CNN and MSNBC provided most of the memorable moments, it was Fox News that ended up victorious in the ratings for the first night of 2012 caucus/primary coverage, pulling in an impressive 2,630,000 total viewers (8 p.m. to 11 p.m.) to CNN’s 1,310,366 and MSNBC’s 1,195,230.
In the late-night block (11 p.m. to 3 a.m.), Fox News attracted 1,820,000 viewers to CNN’s 839,000, and MSNBC’s 693,000. And FNC ruled the key 25-54 year-old demographics across the board, as well.
But now that viewers have had a chance to sample all three networks and get a feel for what to expect, don’t be surprised if CNN — which despite some technical gaffes, received positive acclaim for its coverage (both serious and the goofy) — sees a boost next Tuesday for its analysis of the New Hampshire primaries. After all, they created four of our five “top moments” from the coverage (and we watched all of it, on every channel), and Edith’s name actually trended on Twitter today.
In a scheduling note, the regular cable news ratings reports will return on Thursday. So… get excited.
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