Fox News Channel didn’t just have the top rated cable news broadcast of a convention in history last week — they had it twice.
Just as in 2004, all three nights of the RNC saw FNC topping all broadcast and cable networks, But this time for FNC, just as it was for many networks, the numbers were even higher, and 9.2 million people watching FNC proved the most ever.
“It’s been a pretty amazing couple of weeks,” FNC VP of news editorial Jay Wallace told TVNewser.
“When it comes to news, now people are coming to cable news channels on various news stories. Not to toot our own horn, but it proves again we’re very fortunate to have Brit Hume, Chris Wallace, our political team. People do tune in when there’s a big political story.”
One of the things Wallace credits with FNC’s success is separation. “We’ve been very careful to keep our opinion separate. Our news division takes care of that,” he says. “That’s done us well and I think that’s why you see these numbers. See, when Brit or Shepard Smith are on, that’s our news division talking. That’s the way we’ve always done it.”
FNC’s three wins didn’t achieve the one thing CNN had on Thursday of the DNC — the top broadcast on all of television for the night. But FNC had strong DNC ratings as well, as the 2nd rated cable broadcast and sometimes even beating some of the networks.
What does Wallace credit that to?
In many ways, Wallace sees the news cycle as a reason.
“The election season has been a great story,” he said. “The competition between all the Dems, especially Hillary/Obama as a huge focal point carried all the way to June, and the convention had great drama and great stories.
“What the Democrats did was pretty impressive in terms of story arc. Ted Kennedy on Monday, then Hillary, Bill, Biden and of course Invesco. I think the next week everyone was sort of wondering what exactly were they going to do for some star power.”
The star power was found less than 12 hours after Obama left Invesco Field. “Once McCain picked Palin on Friday everyone was sort of enamored by, ‘Who is this woman, what does she stand for?’ People didn’t know much about her,” said Wallace. “I think the mystery of her really helped build up viewership, even for Thursday night. I think she had some carryover effect.”
With less than 60 days until the election, the networks’ and cablers’ focus on politics will be immense. But after it’s over, there will be a chance to reflect. “We’re going to look back at this election cycle as a whirlwind, an amazing historical event,” said Wallace. “I really like the team we have working on this. It’s really been an amazing thing to be a part of.”