Iran Crisis Ratings

By Chris Ariens 

The protests in Tehran were a ratings draw for the cable news channels this weekend with Fox News and CNN covering the protests most extensively.

Between 10am-6pmET Saturday, CNN drew the most A25-54 viewers, winning each hour. Fox News drew the most Total Viewers for each of those hours, except 11am, Noon and 3pm when CNN came out ahead. The 8pmET hour on Fox News Channel anchored by Shepard Smith was the highest-rated hour for the weekend with 1.48m Total Viewers. Smith’s 7pm hour drew the most Total Viewers but was edged by CNN in the demo (237K vs 204K).

Interestingly, by Sunday night cable news viewers – younger ones anyway – preferred an escape from news. MSNBC won the prime time demo with documentaries, averaging 241K vs. 227K for FNC and 172K for CNN. Fox News still won Total Day both Saturday and Sunday in both Total Viewers and the demo.


Fox News has been the big ratings winner since the crisis began. Compared to the same period last year (June 14-22, ’08 vs. June 13-21, ’09) Fox News is up 34% in Total Viewers and up 40% in demo viewers for Total Day viewing. By contrast, CNN is up 6% in Total Viewers and down 4% in the demo. MSNBC is down 8% in Total Viewers and up 1% in demo viewers.