A Bad Tuesday: Why Didn’t Viewers Flock To CNN For Nominee ?

By Brian 

Why were CNN’s ratings so low on Tuesday night? President Bush announced his nominee for the Supreme Court in primetime — so why did only 1.2 million viewers tune in?

As Variety notes, FNC recorded an 89% increase over its July average between 9 and 9:30pm, and MSNBC enjoyed a 145% jump, but CNN had only a 31% increase. Shouldn’t CNN have doubled its viewership on Tuesday night?

Other ratings notes:

> CNN’s demo numbers were especially bad. Between 9 and 9:30pm, CNN averaged 269,000 25-54 viewers. FNC averaged 1,008,000 demo viewers in the same time period. (MS had 165,000.) For FNC and MSNBC, their demo viewership was way up (119% and 432% respectively) compared to the same day a year ago; but CNN was down 56%.

> A total of 29 million viewers watched the announcement on the broadcast and cable nets.

> Cable peaks: FNC peaked between 9 and 9:15pm with 3,524,000. CNN peaked between 9 and 9:15pm with 1,219,000. MSNBC peaked between 8 and 8:15pm with 649,000.

> MSNBC had a two-hour victory in the 25-54 demo: At 7pm, Shep had 406,000, Hardball had 104,000, and Cooper had 102,000. At 8pm, O’Reilly had 576,000, Countdown had 155,000, Grace had 142,000 and Zahn had 134,000.

> Update: 3:40pm: A CNN staffer responds: “Notice Fox News only wins on stories with a political bent? CNN beat Fox News in the P25-54 demo for both the London Terror Attacks and the Hurricane coverage in prime time [two weeks ago]. And Fox continues to lose the quality contest as well: The night of Supreme Court coverage, CNN was well ahead of Fox in naming Roberts as the nominee. That is breaking news.”

> Update: 5:30pm: “CNN hasn’t been well ahead of anything for the past three years,” an insider responds, “and there’s always an excuse for why they continue to perform dismally. At this point, they’re getting beat by Headline News in the demo — what’s next — getting beat by CNN en Espanol?”