Dictator’s Death Didn’t Drive Viewers to Cable News Sunday

By Alex Weprin 

The unexpected death announcement of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il on Sunday may have been one of the most significant news events of the year… in a year chock full of news. That said, while his death may be very important, U.S. viewers didn’t seem eager to flock to cable news to find out more. Ratings were more or less on par from previous weeks, with CNN up slightly, though not enough to top its competition.

During the 10 PM hour, when CNN and Fox News provided coverage, and MSNBC did break-ins, Fox News led the way in total viewers, with MSNBC tops in the adults 25-54 demo (apparently the key news demo prefers “Caught on Camera” reruns to real breaking international news):

FNC: 609,000 total viewers, 126,000 Adults 25-54
MSNBC: 448,000 total viewers, 210,000 A25-54
CNN:542,000 total viewers, 206,000 A25-54

During the 11 PM hour, when only CNN was live with rolling coverage, the channel placed first in the key demo, followed by MSNBC and Fox News. FNC placed first in total viewers, with a rerun of “Huckabee” (apparently more viewers would rather watch Mike Huckabee play guitar than watch real breaking international news):

FNC: 603,000 total viewers, 123,00 adults 25-54
CNN: 452,000 total viewers, 207,000 A25-54
MSNBC: 432,000 total viewers, 195,000 A25-54