Coverage of the Virginia shooting resulted in increased viewership for the cable news networks on Wednesday, especially Fox News, whose regular lineup produced its largest primetime viewership in the key news demo since April.
Boosted by Megyn Kelly’s exclusive interview with the family of slain television reporter Alison Parker, as well as a sit-down with Univision and Fusion anchor Jorge Ramos, “The Kelly File” was the night’s No. 1 cable news program in adults 25-54, according to Nielsen. Its 678,000 viewers in the demo was the largest in the 9 o’clock hour for the show since an interview with the Duggar family of “19 Kids and Counting” in early June (866,000).
Kelly spent the first 20 minutes of the program speaking with the father and boyfriend of Parker, and then later interviewed Ramos, who had clashed with Donald Trump during a press conference in Iowa on Tuesday.
Kelly and Ramos found common ground in their discussion of the GOP presidential hopeful. “What is it like to be caught in the cross hairs of a billionaire presidential frontrunner?” Kelly asked. “Well, you know exactly how it feels,” responded Ramos.
“The O’Reilly Factor” opened the night for FNC with its second largest adults 25-54 audience of the summer (634,000), behind only the night it aired prior to the network’s highly rated coverage of the first GOP presidential debate earlier this month. It was also again the night’s top cable news program overall with 3.12 million viewers.
“Hannity” also was strong at 10 p.m. (565,000 adults 25-54, 1.96 million viewers overall), racking up its second largest demo audience of summer (behind the night when host Sean Hannity interviewed Trump two weeks ago).
Overall, FNC drew the largest primetime demo audience for its regular lineup (626,000) since the height of the Baltimore riots in April. Compared to its prior 2015 averages, the network’s Wednesday deliveries were up 48% in the demo (626,000 vs. 422,000) and up 21% in total viewers (2.595,000 vs. 2,148,000).
CNN had one of its higher-rated nights of the summer in the 25-54 demo (292,000), placing second among the newsies. The net was also more competitive than usual on a total-day basis, averaging 230,000 adults 25-54 and 660,000 total viewers overall, but this still left it well behind Fox News (337,000 in the demo and 1.63 million viewers overall).
MSNBC averaged 155,000 in the demo during primetime Wednesday, up a little over its prior August weeknight average (148,000).