With juicy crime shows like Law & Order: SVU on hiatus for the summer, viewers in search of a drama-filled court case have turned their attention to a real-life event: the Casey Anthony murder trial. The public obsession with the proceedings has propelled HLN to its highest-rated month ever in June, beating out MSNBC in prime time and total day for the month, and even topping usual winner Fox News in the 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. hours when trial testimony was at its height, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
HLN’s seemingly constant trial coverage has averaged 982,000 total viewers, 292,000 of which fall within the 25-to-54-year-old target demographic, adding up to year-over-year gains of 86 percent and 79 percent, respectively. In total day, says THR, HLN averaged 601,000 total viewers, with 192,000 in the target demographic for year-over-year gains of 98 and 48 percent.
The network’s biggest winner has been Nancy Grace, who has been leading HLN’s trial coverage. The court case has given Grace an enormous ratings bump for her prime-time show, with viewership rising more than 80 percent to 1.5 million total viewers and 452,000 viewers in the key demographic in June—putting her second only to Fox’s Bill O’Reilly in the 8 p.m. cable news slot.
For the quarter, HLN posted prime-time gains of 12 percent in total viewers year over year, up to 549,000, and 8 percent in the target demographic, to 170,000.