CNN and Fox News reported a sharp increase in convention viewership on Tuesday night while MSNBC’s numbers dropped.
CNN’s coverage of the Republican National Convention delivered a 1.4 rating (1.2 million households), up 17% in ratings from the convention’s kickoff Monday, according to Nielsen overnights. Fox placed second with a 1.0 rating (525,000 households), up 11%.
MSNBC was down 6% to a 0.5 rating (298,000 households). A spokesman attributed the drop to competing coverage by sister broadcast network NBC during the key 10:30-11 p.m. period, adding, “We did not come here expecting huge numbers.” The net eased to a 0.5 rating from 10 to 11 p.m., down from a 0.6 the hour before.
Sources at the other two nets speculated that MSNBC’s convention related-talk and softer programming wasn’t as appealing to convention viewers as their harder-hitting news.
All the networks’ convention numbers are up from average primetime ratings, although generally down from the 1996 convention.
As for the broadcast nets, CBS led the way from 10:30 to 11 with a 4.4 homes rating, ahead of NBC (3.8) and ABC (3.0). The Alphabet was the only Big 3 net to air a full hour of coverage, with CBS and NBC both largely limiting their coverage to the 10:30 half-hour.