Even though most networks declared Newt Gingrich the winner of the South Carolina primary when polls closed at 7pmET Saturday night, there was still viewer interest in the why, how, and what’s next?
For Fox News and CNN, Saturday’s primary night topped their coverage from Iowa and New Hampshire. Here are the Nielsen time period averages from 7-11pmET — the hours of most of the live coverage. At 10pmET, however, Fox News aired a special “Geraldo At Large” on the Costa Concordia disaster, while keeping South Carolina results at the bottom of the screen. Final numbers will be available tomorrow morning.
- 7-11pmET Saturday, Jan. 21
Fox News: 2,631,000 / 703,000
CNN: 1,213,000 / 417,000
MSNBC: 985,000 / 240,000
Compared to the 2008 GOP primary, Fox News was up 96% in Total Viewers (2.63m vs. 1.34m) and up 100% in A25-54 viewers (703k vs 352k). CNN also grew compared to the 2008 in Total Viewers (1.213 vs. 1.098m) and younger viewers (417k vs. 380k). In 2008, the GOP and Democratic primaries were held on different dates: Republicans on Jan. 19 and Democrats on Jan. 26.