You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

CNN, Clinton click with viewers

Cabler coverage of convention paces field

Competitors may be sniping that CNN stands for the “Clinton News Network,” but Monday night, President Clinton’s farewell speech at the Democratic National Convention helped boost the news cabler to the front of the pack.

From 8 p.m. to midnight EST (Clinton’s speech ended at 11:20 p.m.), CNN posted a 1.8 rating (equivalent to 1.4 million households), topping competitors MSNBC’s 0.9 rating (529,000 households) and Fox News Channel’s 0.7 rating (356,000 households), according to Nielsen figures.

In addition to beating out MSNBC and Fox News combined, CNN also topped its numbers for the first night of the GOP convention, as well as its ratings from the first night of the Democratic National Convention in 1996.

‘Liberal bias’

“Viewers obviously felt more comfortable with the liberal bias over at CNN,” said a Fox News spokesman. However, Clinton gave Fox News a boost as well. The cabler’s ratings peaked during the president’s speech with a .8 rating (449,000 homes).

“We have reported and the viewers decided,” said a CNN spokeswoman, noting that the cabler’s audience was four times greater than Fox News’ for the night.

As for the broadcast nets, ABC led the way from 10 p.m. to 11:45 p.m. EST, drawing an average of 6 million viewers, slightly ahead of NBC (5.9 million) and CBS (5.3 million). PBS attracted approximately 3 million viewers. But the comparison isn’t entirely fair, since NBC’s figure includes nonconvention “Dateline” material from 10-10:30 p.m.

Disregarding Republican calls not to offer unequal coverage, the nets gave the Democrats more airtime than the Republicans got two weeks ago on opening night.

GOP chairman Jim Nicholson last week asked the big three nets to air “not a minute more” of the Democrats’ convention than they did of the GOP event in Philadelphia.

On the first night of the Republican National Convention, NBC carried no coverage, instead covering the proceedings on sister cabler MSNBC. Monday night, NBC aired nearly an hour of DNC coverage.

Convention launch

ABC, CBS and PBS also gave the Democrats significantly more coverage on the opening night of their convention — presumably because the night featured an address by Clinton. CNN actually gave the Republicans more coverage than the Democrats. Only Fox News claimed to give both gatherings exactly the same amount of time.

News execs insist that the Republicans’ request did not influence their coverage.

“With all due respect to Mr. Nicholson, it’s about editorial judgment,” said Marc Burstein, executive producer, special events, at ABC News. “The question is: Was carrying President Clinton’s speech until its conclusion a sound editorial choice? It was.”

More TV

  • NBCU Reality Streaming Service Hayu Launches

    NBCU’s Reality Streaming Service Hayu Launches in Three New Territories (EXCLUSIVE)

    It’s easier to keep up with the Kardashians in the Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg after NBCUniversal launched its reality-TV streaming service, hayu, in those countries Tuesday. The service went live with about 6,000 episodes of unscripted fare from NBCUniversal’s lineup, including “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” “Made in Chelsea” and “The Real Housewives” and [...]

  • Arrow -- "Elseworlds, Part 2" --

    'Elseworlds, Part 2' Recap: Batwoman's 'Arrowverse' Story Begins

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “Elseworlds, Part 2” the second part of the 2018 “Arrowverse” crossover, which aired Dec. 10. “Arrow’s” leg of the “Elseworlds” crossover had a little more to think about than “The Flash’s,” mainly because it served as the first introduction to Ruby Rose’s Batwoman. For [...]

  • Michael Uslan's U2K Becomes Asia-Hollywood Formats

    Michael Uslan's U2K Becomes Asia-Hollywood Formats Pipeline (EXCLUSIVE)

    Michael and David Uslan, the father and son producing team with credits that include “The Dark Knight” and “Sabrina: Secrets of a Teenage Witch” have struck a cluster of deals that makes them a two-way conduit for TV formats between Hollywood and Asia. U2K, a company that includes the Uslans and Jon Karas (“Believe in [...]

  • Court TV Brand to Resurface as

    Court TV Brand to Resurface as New Channel From Scripps Co.

    Court TV is back in session. The cable TV channel that once carried gavel-to-gavel live coverage of high-profile trials will be revived by a new owner, nearly a dozen years after it was shuttered by Turner Broadcasting. Katz Networks, a division of E.W. Scripps Co., plans to revive Court TV as a new channel designed [...]

  • Gina Rodriguez Carmen Sandiego

    TV News Roundup: Netflix's Carmen Sandiego Series With Gina Rodriguez Sets Premiere Date

    In today’s TV news roundup, Netflix announced a premiere date for its upcoming Carmen Sandiego series and Stars released the premiere date for its original comedy series “Now Apocalypse.” DATES Lifetime will debut a new Gretchen Carlson documentary Jan. 14 at 10 p.m. ET/PT, Variety has learned exclusively. The two-hour special titled “Gretchen Carlson: Breaking [...]

  • Craig Hunegs WB

    Craig Hunegs to Exit Warner Bros. TV Group and Digital Networks (EXCLUSIVE)

    After nearly 25 years in the Warner Bros. family, Craig Hunegs is exiting his post as head of business for Warner Bros. TV Group and president of the studio’s digital networks wing. Hunegs said he has been discussing his exit with Warner Bros. chairman-CEO Kevin Tsujihara for the past several months. At a time of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content