MSNBC tunes in big gains amid tragedy

Third quarter was news net's highest-rated quarter ever

While they’re understandably reluctant to boast about ratings, all of the cable news nets got a big boost in viewership from the recent terrorist attacks.

MSNBC in particular made significant strides: The third quarter was the news net’s highest-rated quarter in its history and September marked its highest-rated month ever. It also has the youngest audience of any of the news nets by far, with a median age of 47 in primetime, compared to 54 for CNN and 55 for Fox News. The key news demo for advertisers is adults 25-54.

Still, MSNBC ranked third among the competish in both primetime and total day for both the third quarter and the month of September.

Fox rockets in primetime

For third quarter during primetime, CNN averaged 1.0 million households, up 104% compared to last year during the same frame, while Fox News averaged 735,000 households, a gain of 175%. MSNBC averaged 449,000 households, a jump of 87% from third quarter 2000.

During total day, CNN averaged 595,000 households, up 132% from third quarter 2000. Fox News averaged 422,000 households, a whopping improvement of 235%, and MSNBC averaged 316,000 households, an 87% gain.

The recently relaunched Headline News also saw gains during the third quarter, averaging 223,000 households in total day and 251,000 in primetime — an improvement of 69% and 82% respectively over third-quarter 2000.

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