Blizzard Delivers Cable Ratings Spike

By Chris Ariens 

Coverage of the East Coast blizzard, and those ubiquitous weekend crime shows, helped give a spike to cable ratings on Saturday.

The Weather Channel beat all the news networks averaging a 256,000 A25-54 demo viewers, +6 percent over CNN, and +35 percent over FNC. The Weather Channel reached over 37.3 million total viewers during the, ranking #2 among basic cable networks during the 3-day coverage (Thursday-Saturday) also ahead of CNN (31.9MM), and FNC (30.5MM). This was Weather Channel’s highest single day rating for a winter storm since 2011.

Among the cable news channels, CNN gave the most coverage to the storm, beginning Friday night and continuing live through prime time Saturday. Fox News delivered the most total viewers with 1.205 million for the full day and 1.209 million in prime time. Fox News gave extended coverage to the storm in prime time Saturday adding an hour of live news at 8 p.m. and coverage during Jeanine Pirro‘s show at 9 p.m., which was the most-watched hour in prime time and included a phone interview with Donald Trump.

All the networks saw growth vs. last Saturday, even HLN and MSNBC, which kept with their crime time shows of Forensic Files and Lockup, respectively. In fact, HLN was up the most in the prime time demo: up +80 percent vs. last Saturday. CNN was up the most in the demo for the full day: up +60 percent vs. last Saturday.