Mass. Senate Race Boosts FNC to Ratings Win


Fox News Channel last week won the cable ratings race for the first time since November 2008, drawing 3.21 million total viewers in prime time.

Boosted by its coverage of the Massachusetts special election, FNC beat USA Network by some 19,000 viewers during the week ended Jan. 24, per Nielsen live-plus-same-day ratings data. FNC’s prime-time lineup for Tuesday, Jan. 19, accounted for three of ad-supported cable’s 10 most-watched programs, as The O’Reilly Factor drew 5.23 million viewers at 8 p.m., followed by Hannity (6.81 million) and On the Record with Greta van Sustern (6.4 million).

FNC also delivered on the demo front, averaging 868,000 adults 25-54, good for fourth place on the week.

In April 2009, FNC executives told Mediaweek that it was gunning for the No. 1 seat, having eclipsed its cable news competition. The last time FNC won the ratings crown was a little more than 14 months ago, during the week of 2008 presidential election (Nov. 3-9). In that seven-day stretch, FNC averaged 3.54 million total viewers, of whom 1.14 million were members of the core news demo.

While USA Network took second on the week (3.19 million viewers), the programmer held its ground among the two major TV demos, averaging 1.43 million adults 25-54 and 1.32 million viewers 18-49. The Jan. 21 mid-season premiere of Burn Notice drew 5.35 million viewers, nearly half of whom were adults 25-54 (2.6 million). Meanwhile, WWE Raw on Monday night scared up 5.29 million viewers, a delivery that included 2.49 million 25-54s and 2.6 million viewers 18-49.

Third place went to Nick at Nite (2.24 million viewers). The network set a pair of in-house records with its Jan. 18 lineup, as a new episode of iCarly served up 11.2 million viewers at 8 p.m. The half-hour iCarly posted its strongest deliveries of kids 2-11 (5.7 million), kids 6-11 (4.7 million) and ‘tweens 9-14 (4.5 million), per Nielsen.

The premiere of Nick at Nite’s Big Time Rush retained 61 percent of its iCarly lead-in, drawing 6.77 million viewers.

TNT claimed fourth place in prime, averaging 1.98 million total viewers. The Turner net took third among adults 25-54 (919,000), and placed fifth with 18-49s (895,000). Its biggest draw of the week came in the form of the Jan. 21 Lakers-Cavs tilt, which averaged 3.95 million viewers, including 2.04 million viewers 18-49.

A&E closed out the top five with 1.85 million viewers, and its demos were even stronger. The network seized second place among adults 25-54 (976,000) and finished third with 18-49s (914,000).

Continue to next page →