We’re also covering last night’s primary (April 22) since we already have the Overnights…and they were GREAT for CNN (as usual).
ABC took top honors for now being able to boast they have the #1 ranking primary debate (last Wednesday night) and the #2 ranking primary debate (New Hampshire double whammy which also aired on CNN). They may not have been the critic’s choice, but they were for audiences and the analysis which followed on the cable news/information channels. Cable got a great boost from the Pennsylvania debate. Can we say that cable channels used ABC’s “draft” (like in racing) to benefit from another network’s programming? 8Pm was dramatically affected in cable as that was the broadcast start time of the primary debate on ABC. Audiences began to tune into the cable channels at 9Pm and had great peaks at 10PM. On Wednesday, both LKL and AC360 were #1 in their respective time periods – far and away beating their competition on Fox News and MSNBC.
Courtesy: Google Images
There is also no question that other news stories which dominated the week also drove viewers for the in-depth coverage cable affords. The Economy and the religious sect in Texas certainly played a role. Let’s look at the week:
Fox News: 427,000
Billo had a disaster on debate Wednesday – I’ve never seen his numbers dip below 300,000 on a weekday night (exclude Fridays, they are usually low, but I don’t even remember Friday ever posting such a low audience for Fox at 8PM). He was 145,000 off of his five day average on that Wednesday. Campbell Brown had fluctuations in her numbers over the week, and was also off on Wednesday, but not as much as Bill – her Wednesday audience was off 39,000 from her five day average. COUNTDOWN is up over last week with good growth, but it also lost 64,000 on Wednesday as well, so the debate caused audience issues in cable, only with this hour.
Fox News: 436,000
HANNITY & COLMES had two huge nights for them – over 500,000 in viewers on Tuesday and Thursday with a decent debate night on Wednesday. They must have been some very controversial topics because Sean Hannity knows full well how to “stir the pot.” The program is up from its performance the prior week. LKL was basically the same in audience from the week before, but there is nothing wrong with a steady performance. Dan Abrams’ Verdict aired 4 days with a special HARDBALL airing on debate night. Based on Hardball’s performance, they should have stuck with a special COUNTDOWN like they did at 10PM or stayed with Abrams. Chris Matthews with 139,000 viewers did MSNBC no favors that night.
Fox News: 338,000
Yes, it was a close week between AC360 and GRETA. 360’s special debate analysis coverage within the regular 10PM program really helped it on Wednesday night. The program was soundly #1 in the time period for Wednesday defeating GRETA by over 100,000 in the key demo of Adults 25-54. Friday night, surprisingly was also a very strong night for 360 against GRETA, but she had enough audience on other nights to beat CNN for the week. However, AC360 is up over 63,000 Adults 25-54 from the week prior. That’s a good increase in anyone’s book. COUNTDOWN’s 10PM repeat would have been just down slightly from the week prior had it not been for a good debate analysis night.
PENNSYLVANIA PRIMARY NIGHT, Tuesday, April 22, 2008:
Courtesy: The New York Times
CNN was once again the leader with the key demographic of Adults 25-54 for the PA Primary night.
Fox News: 316,000
Fox News: 483,000
Fox News: 507,000
Fox News: 679,000
Even MSNBC had an excellent night by pulling in several correspondents from NBC News which included Brian Williams and Tim Russert. In fact, MSNBC beat Fox News from 5PM – 9PM before coming in third at 10PM. CNN was #1 for the full evening from 5PM – 12MD. At 9PM and 10PM, CNN was also #1 for Total Audience 2+, but came in second for all other hours in Total Audience. A great night for CNN. But I won’t say “the phrase that shall not be named” even though the numbers back up the statement. What I will say is that CNN has a great advantage with John King’s analysis and expertise at the “magic wall” along with the channel having terrific pace for disseminating information to viewers. They weren’t first to announce the winner, but they have made a point to be right rather than first.
*4 Day Average, Did Not Air (DNA) Wednesday, April 16, 2008.
^Courtesy, Nielsen Media Research; demographics where noted; Live + Same Day (LS); Fast Track Nationals.