16 Million Tune in to Cable News For Ferguson Grand Jury Announcement

By Chris Ariens 

CuomoFergusonThe news surrounding the grand jury’s decision in the Darren Wilson case gave cable news channels a ratings surge Monday.

While the decision had been reached by mid-afternoon, news channels had 7 hours to consider the result as it was not announced until the 9pmET hour, when daytime viewership peaked. During that hour, FNC, CNN, MSNBC and HLN drew a combined 16.406 million viewers. For comparison, 15.27 million were watching the night’s No. 1 broadcast show, “Dancing with the Stars,” as well as an ABC News special report on the Wilson case, at 9pm.

Fox Business Network, Al Jazeera America and Fusion also produced special coverage while the big four broadcasters interrupted with special reports.


On cable, Fox News led in total viewers for the hour, averaging 7.256M, while CNN led in the younger demo with 3.155M. On Fox News, Megyn Kelly and Sean Hannity both had all-time ratings highs.

CNN, which devoted the most resources and the most coverage to the run-up to the decision and its riotous result, earned rare ratings wins: for total day and primetime demo viewership. Fox News took total viewership wins in daytime and primetime. Last night, CNN more than doubled its mid-term election night coverage, when it averaged 2.1 million total viewers and 909,000 in the demo.

Coverage continued late into the night with CNN topping its cable competitors in the hours following Pres. Obama’s remarks (approximately 10:19pmET) in both total viewers and the demo.

  • 11/24/14: 7pm–1amET | Total Viewers / A25-54 demo

FNC: 4,385,000 / 1,399,000
CNN: 4,365,000 / 2,332,000
MSNBC: 1,301,000 / 423,000