Fox News and CNN duked it out among cable-news outlets covering the verdict of Officer Darren Wilson on Monday night, with audiences flocking to them in large numbers for news and information about the controversial event and its aftermath. MSNBC’s numbers were not nearly as robust as those of its rivals.
During primetime, Fox News (5.563 million) and CNN (5.079 million) both drew more than three times the audience of MSNBC (1.622 million), according to Nielsen estimates. CNN scored a victory in the key news demo of adults 25-54 (2.627 million), drawing a bigger crowd than the combined tune-in for FNC (1.653 million) and MSNBC (544,000).
During the 9 p.m. hour, Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC captured an average of 15.72 million viewers, according to Nielsen.
The results are likely to underscore what have become recent truisms in the cable-news business: Fox News regularly lures more viewers overall on a regular basis, while CNN’s viewership is noticeably bolstered by breaking-news coverage.
CNN’s Anderson Cooper was able to trump Fox News’ Megyn Kelly in the 25-to-54 demo at 9 p.m., though Fox News’ primetime schedule handily beat CNN throughout the evening. In latenight viewership, however, CNN lured more viewers overall and in the demo at both 11 p.m. and 12 a.m., according to Nielsen.
The numbers for all the networks were outsized compared to normal coverage. Last Monday, for example, Bill O’Reilly attracted an average of 2.99 million viewers, Megyn Kelly lured an average of about 2.182 million viewers and Sean Hannity notched an average of about 1.33 million, according to Nielsen. Last night, O’Reilly attracted an average of 3.69 million, Kelly won an average of about 7.26 million (in the 9 p.m. hour, not for the portion of her show that continued into 10 p.m.) and Hannity attracted an average of about 5.04 million.
Both “The Kelly File” and “Hannity” scored all-time highs in terms of overall viewers and audience in the advertiser-desired demo of 25 to 54.
On CNN. Anderson Cooper reached about 504,000 viewers at 8 p.m. and about 369,000 viewers at 9 p.m., while “CNN Tonight” won 424,000 viewers. Last night, Cooper attracted an average of about 2.64 million at 8 p.m., an average of about 6.27 million at 9 p.m., and an average of 6.17 million at 10 p.m.