Fox News, NBC have early convention edge

MSNBC, CNN lag in ratings for Republican confab

Fox News Channel drew the largest audience for the first night of coverage of the weather-delayed Republican National Convention, while NBC edged out the cabler among viewers 25-54.

From 10-11 p.m. Eastern, the one hour that the broadcast and cable networks battled head-to-head, Fox News drew 6.88 million viewers overall, 1.68 million in 25-54, according to Nielsen. NBC pulled 4.77 million viewers oveall, 1.73 million in the demo.

Each of the networks topped rivals CBS (3.12 million overall, 0.94 million in 25-54), ABC (2.86 million/0.92 million) and the evenly matched CNN and MSNBC (1.47 million, 0.41 million).

For the cable networks’ three hours of primetime coverage, Fox News dominated with 5.15 million viewers overall, double the combined total of MSNBC (1.32 million) and CNN (1.20 million).

NBC’s convention ratings benefited on the East Coast from having as a lead-in the the two-hour “America’s Got Talent” (2.5/7, 9.9 million). That finished second only to a new episode of Fox’s “MasterChef” (2.8/8, 6.6 million). Earlier that evening, a “MasterChef” rerun (1.4/5, 3.5 million) finished second in its 8 p.m. timeslot to the first hour of “Talent.”

CBS offered summer repeats of “NCIS” (1.2/4, 8.4 million) and “NCIS: Los Angeles” (1.1/3, 7.2 million), while ABC delivered four sitcoms in “The Middle” (0.8/3, 3.1 million), “Last Man Standing” (0.8/2, 2.7 million), “Happy Endings” (0.6/2, 1.9 million) and “Don’t Trust the B” (0.5/1, 1.6 million).

The CW aired “Hart of Dixie” (0.2/1, 0.6 million) and “The Next” (0.2/0, 0.5 million).

The broadcast networks’ 18-49 averages for the night: Fox 2.1/6, NBC 2.0/6, Univision 1.4/4, CBS 0.9/3, ABC 0.6/2, CW 0.2/1.

In total viewers: NBC 8.1 million, CBS 6.2 million, Fox 5.0 million, Univision 3.4 million, ABC 2.5 million, CW 0.6 million.

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