CNN The Sixties

The premiere of 12-part series “The Sixties” provided CNN with a much-needed primetime ratings jolt when it premiered Thursday, making the cabler the top-rated news network for the hour in the industry’s key demo.

According to fast national data from Nielsen, “When Television Came of Age,” the first of the 10-part “The Sixties,” averaged 284,000 adults 25-54 in the 9 o’clock hour — narrowly ahead of Fox News (273,000) and comfortably ahead of MSNBC (115,000).

CNN had aired two segments of its “Sixties” series previously, though those were telecast during times of higher-viewing levels and were timed to 50-year anniversaries. The segment on the JFK assassination averaged 508,000 adults 25-54 in November, and “The British Invasion” drew 305,000 in adults 25-54; both will be part of the current 12-part series.

In total viewers, Thursday’s “The Sixties” (1.390 million) ranked second among newsies, behind Fox News (1.919 million) and ahead of MSNBC (723,000).

Compared with CNN’s prior four-week average in the Thursday 9 p.m. hour, “The Sixties” drew nearly three times as many adults 25-54 (284,000 vs. 98,000) and more than four times the overall audience (1.390 million vs. 337,000).

An encore airing of “The Sixties” at 10 p.m. also did well, as its 243,000 viewers in the 25-54 demo edged out Fox News (239,000) and more than doubled MSNBC (104,000). In total viewers, CNN (946,000) again trailed Fox (1.428 million) and had no problem topping MSNBC (532,000).

“The Sixties” is executive produced by Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman (HBO’s “John Adams” and “The Pacific”) of Playtone, and Mark Herzog (History’s “Gettysburg”) of Herzog & Co. (HCO).

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