For Cablers, Crime Pays on Saturday Nights

By Chris Ariens Comment

ForensicFilesCrime continues to be a draw for TV networks on Saturday night. CBS has found success in its “48 Hours” franchise. In fact, this weekend’s episode “A Bad Bet” was Saturday night’s #1 program, drawing 5.32 million viewers. And increasingly, the cable news networks are finding Saturday night’s alright for fighting, too.

HLN was the most-watched cable news network Saturday among younger viewers, winning the day (177,000 viewers) and primetime (246,000). The network has been running HLN Mysteries specials on weekend nights for nearly three years following the success of MSNBC’s crime-filled weekends. With back-to-back episodes of “Forensic Files” HLN was the most-watched network in the ad-friendly demo Saturday night.

With back-to-back episodes of “Lockup” MSNBC came in second and CNN, which hasn’t settled on a regular Saturday night schedule, came in third with a block of “Crimes of the Century,” beginning at 9pm. Fox News Channel, which on any other day trumps its competitors in all measurements, came in fourth in the demo with its lineup of “Huckabee,” “Justice with Jeanine Pirro” and “Red Eye.”

FNC still finished first among total viewers averaging more than a million viewers.  HLN was second.

  • Saturday, Jan. 25 (8-11pm)

A25-54 demo / Total Viewers
HLN: 246,000 / 579,000
MSNBC: 168,000 / 352,000
CNN: 124,000 / 391,000
FNC: 93,000 / 1.107M

While crime shows may bring in viewers, it can be a harder sell for advertisers, who may not want to be associated with that kind of programming.