As ‘Rock Center’ Prepares to Move, ‘The O’Reilly Factor’ Notches a Rare Ratings Acheivement

By Alex Weprin 

Starting February 8 NBC’s “Rock Center” will move to Wednesday nights to make room for NBC’s big Spring show, “Smash.”

On Monday night however, Fox News Channel’s “The O’Reilly Factor” managed to pull an unusual feat: it topped  “Rock Center” in total viewers. O’Reilly drew 3.417 million viewers, to “Rock Center”‘s 3.293 million. In the key adults 25-54 demo, “Rock Center” still topped O’Reilly by more than half a million viewers.

It isn’t a perfect comparison of course, Bill O’Reilly is on at 8 PM, while “Rock Center” is on at 10 PM. In addition, Brian Williams’ nightly evening newscast draws 3-4 times as many viewers each weeknight than “The O’Reilly Factor” does.

While cable news programs have topped primetime network magazine shows before, the NBC program is the first new newsmagazine in a long time, and the network still has high hopes for it. So far, it has struggled to bring in a regular audience, drawing between three and four million viewers, great for cable news, but not strong for a network program.

Will the new night and lead-in help? Only time will tell.