Cable Ratings: Supreme Court Same Sex Marriage Ruling And George Zimmerman Trial

By Alex Weprin 

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At 10 AM yesterday the Supreme Court handed down a pair of rulings: one that overturned the Defense of Marriage Act, and another that allowed California to again allow gay marriages. Yesterday afternoon, a star witness was cross-examined in the George Zimmerman murder trial. It seems as though cable news viewers were just as interested (if not more so) in watching the trial than the rulings.

At 10 AM, when the Supreme Court rulings came in, Fox News averaged 1.24 million viewers, including 227,000 adults 25-54. CNN averaged 630,000 total viewers, including 203,000 adults 25-54, and MSNBC averaged 474,000 viewers, including 155,000 adults 25-54. All told, 2.34 million total viewers watched the rulings come down on the three general cable news channels, including 585,000 adults 25-54.

For comparison, when the Supreme Court handed down its “Obamacare” ruling last Summer, 4.85 million people tuned in on the three cable news channels, including 1.2 million A25-54.

Coverage of that ruling resulted in blowback against CNN and Fox News, as both inaccurately reported the result before backtracking and correcting themselves.

The George Zimmerman trial came to a head between 2-6 PM yesterday, when the prosecution’s star witness took the stand and was subsequently cross-examined. Fox News led those hours in total viewers, while HLN was tops in the adults 25-54 demo.

Below are the numbers for those hours:

Fox News
2PM 175K A25-54/1.215M total viewers
3PM 173K A25-54/1.216M total viewers
4PM 209K A25-54/1.361M total viewers
5PM 275K A25-54/1.912M total viewers

2PM 263K A25-54/747K total viewers
3PM 346K A25-54/1.054M total viewers
4PM 332K A25-54/1.130M total viewers
5PM 315K A25-54/907K total viewers

2PM 125K A25-54/484K total viewers
3PM 182K A 25-54/529K total viewers
4PM 214K A25-54/704K total viewers
5PM 184K A25-54/705K total viewers

2PM 105K A25-54/301K total viewers
3PM 66K A25-54/328K total viewers
4PM 106K A25-54/503K total viewers
5PM 185K A25-54/634K total viewers