With a made-for-TV scene in Ferguson Monday night, CNN and Fox News scored ratings bonanzas, with CNN scoring sweeping wins in the 25-54 demographic, and Fox doing the same in overall numbers, according to Nielsen ratings released Tuesday.
At CNN, the big winner on the night was host Anderson Cooper, who pulled in over three million viewers in the demo, and more than six million overall viewers tuning in. Cooper, who was live on the scene for AC360, was on the air throughout the night alongside the majority of CNN’s talent who provided coverage from the scene without much help from the studio in Atlanta.
Cooper’s high ratings served as a lead-in to CNN Tonight and the network’s highest demo number on the night, a 3.55 million figure during the latter end of the 10 p.m. hour.
With Cooper fronting CNN’s coverage, fellow hosts Jake Tapper, Don Lemon, Chris Cuomo and several other correspondents reported on the scene as the protests in Ferguson evolved into mass chaos, which included tear gas, vandalized businesses and cars being set ablaze.
During the entirety of prime time coverage (7 p.m.-1 a.m.), CNN scored nearly 1 million viewers more viewers in the demo than Fox News (2.3 to 1.4 million), while registering a near statistical tie in overall viewers (4.3 million apiece).
While CNN had a huge showing in the demo, Fox News had a strong showing in its own right, leading across the board in total viewers. The network’s high on the night came during the grand jury’s announcement as Megyn Kelly’s 9 p.m. hour pulled in more than seven million viewers (7.256), the highest total viewer figure among Fox and CNN. By comparison, Anderson Cooper 360 scored exactly one million less in overall viewers during the announcement.
Along with the overall viewer stats, Kelly’s hour also scored more than two million in the demo, which served as a great lead in to Sean Hannity’s 10 p.m. hour, which notched 1.7 million in the demo and five million in overall viewers.
Meanwhile, MSNBC’s ratings reflected past statements from their president, Phil Griffin, who said the network “is not the place” for breaking news.
The liberal network scored nearly 1 million less in overall viewers than CNN did in the demo alone, as Rachel Maddow’s hour attracted just north of 2 million viewers and less than 800k in the demo. During the course of their special primetime coverage, MSNBC scored an underwhelming 1.3 million, more than three million less than both CNN and Fox News.
Griffin made the aforementioned comment to the New York Times last June.