The usually quiet holiday season was interrupted this year by breaking news of the attempted terrorist attack on Northwest flight 253.
As we noted, Ali Velshi anchored near wall-to-wall coverage on CNN, while Jamie Colby was in for Fox News and MSNBC’s Christina Brown provided brief updates during documentary programming.
CNN devoted almost the entirety of its primetime to the story, and it attracted the viewers. From 8-11pmET, CNN averaged 1.16 million total viewers (318k in the A25-54 demo), just enough to top Fox News, which averaged 1.10 million viewers (301k demo). MSNBC averaged a far fewer 337k total viewers (148k demo).
The AP’s David Bauder writes about the criticism MSNBC is now facing for its lack of comprehensive coverage of the incident:
Competitors CNN and Fox News Channel gave much more extensive attention to the story on Christmas night as MSNBC stuck with taped programs on a murder mystery and environmental issues, along with an “undercover” report on the teenage sex trade.
Bauder also writes, “For its part, MSNBC has noted that its long-form taped programming have been successful in the ratings during weekends.”
On Saturday, Fox News and CNN continued major coverage of the story in primetime. Greta Van Susteren cut her vacation short to anchor a special two-hour “On the Record” Saturday evening, which returned FNC to the top of the total viewer ratings with 841,000 watching during primetime. CNN’s primetime, which featured re-airs of the network’s exclusive with Jasper Schuringa, averaged 692,000.
In the demo, however, MSNBC’s documentary programming drew more A25-54 viewers (266k) than both those networks.