Interest in the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 has boosted viewership for news ratings leader Fox News as well as CNN, with the former leading all of cable last week and the latter leapfrogging MSNBC.
According to Nielsen, Fox News was the No. 1 cable network in primetime last week, averaging 2.01 million viewers to surpass entertainment channels USA (1.98 million), History (1.94 million) and AMC (1.82 million). It was up 16% from the previous week (1.72 million), when it ranked fifth.
It remained no contest among the news networks in primetime, with FNC still well ahead of CNN (803,000) and MSNBC (648,000). Fox claimed nine of the week’s top 50 basic cable telecasts.
CNN, working from a smaller base, tends to gain by a larger percentage basis during especially news-heavy cycles, and that’s what happened last week. Its primetime audience was 65% larger than the previous week to move ahead of MSNBC, which was actually down 8% week to week.
FNC also stayed on top in the adults 25-54 demo last week, but CNN closed the gap from 67% two weeks ago to 15% last week. Fox averaged 343,000 in this age group (up 27% from the previous week), and was followed by CNN (297,000, up 83%) and MSNBC (196,000, down 9%).
Last Sunday, CNN won in adults 25-54 in primetime as well as total day — the first time this has happened on any day since last summer (Hannah Anderson kidnapping).