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Piers Morgan’s Best Ratings To Date: Promoting Last-Minute Sheen Booking Via Social Media

Cable news ratings, February 28, 2011:

•Monday night’s edition of Piers Morgan Tonight had a newsworthy guest, but no advance publicity. In fact, CNN didn’t know if Charlie Sheen would show for the live interview until he arrived at the studio in Los Angeles–four minutes before airtime. In the minutes before the show began, a flurry of messages through social media drove huge numbers of viewers to CNN. When it was over, Piers Morgan had his second-best showing ever among viewers 25-54, with 561,000, (and his second best showing in terms of total viewers, behind his debut with Oprah Winfrey) far ahead of MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, who had 282,000. The timeslot winner was Fox News’ Sean Hannity, comfortably in first place with 751,000. The booking–and the viral promotion–will certainly be evaluated at PMT, where executive producer Jonathan Wald tweeted this afternoon: “Incredible power of social media. Record ratings for @PiersTonight with no promotion whatsoever, just twitter/facebook, word of mouth.”

•Meanwhile, CNN’s rebranded 8 o’clock show, In the Arena with Eliot Spitzer, had a less than stellar first night, finishing in fourth place among viewers 25-54. The show had 124,000 viewers, coming in behind Fox’s Bill O’Reilly, MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell, and HLN’s Nancy Grace.

•Surprisingly, Sean Hannity, who didn’t even have a notable guest on last night or any abnormal promotion, had his highest program of 2011 in P2+ and 25-54 at the same time as his CNN counterpart Piers Morgan.

Here’s the full scoreboard:

TV NEWS RATINGS: 25-54 DEMOGRAPHIC (L +SD)
Fox News CNN MSNBC CNN Headline News
5 pm Beck

577

Blitzer

205

Matthews

168

Showbiz

68

6 pm Baier

469

Blitzer

165

Live

182

Prime

57

7 pm Shep

645

King, USA

157

Matthews

200

Issues

106

8 pm O’Reilly

909

InTheArena

124

O’Donnell

282

Grace

141

9 pm Hannity

751

Morgan

561

Maddow

383

Missing

68

10 pm Van Susteren

538

Cooper

430

Schultz

291

Behar

114

11 pm O’Reilly

403

Cooper

207

O’Donnell

182

Showbiz

123

TOTAL DAY 395 202 151 104
PRIME TIME 736 372 319 105
Data by Nielsen Media Research. Live and same day (DVR) data.
TV NEWS RATINGS: TOTAL VIEWERS (L +SD)
Fox News CNN MSNBC CNN Headline News
5 pm Beck

2170

Blitzer

696

Matthews

710

Showbiz

214

6 pm Baier

2194

Blitzer

682

Live

669

Prime

213

7 pm Shep

2126

King, USA

542

Matthews

721

Issues

347

8 pm O’Reilly

3417

InTheArena

548

O’Donnell

1146

Grace

596

9 pm Hannity

2621

Morgan

1346

Maddow

1198

Missing

333

10 pm Van Susteren

1756

Cooper

995

Schultz

1005

Behar

308

11 pm O’Reilly

1251

Cooper

501

O’Donnell

647

Showbiz

264

TOTAL DAY 1454 604 562 261
PRIME TIME 2603 963 1116 403
Data by Nielsen Media Research. Live and same day (DVR) data

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