The timing of the verdict in the George Zimmerman murder trial — in which the neighborhood watch volunteer was acquitted in the death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin — was less than ideal for cable news, coming late on a Saturday night, when viewership is typically low.
But it worked out well for the major news channels. More than 10 million viewers tuned in to cable news channels to watch coverage of the verdict, in what The New York Times calls a "huge total for a Saturday night."
In the 10 p.m. ET hour, immediately following the verdict, Fox News averaged 3.68 million viewers, while CNN pulled in 3.4 million. HLN, which is known for its coverage of criminal trials and which covered the Zimmerman trial extensively, drew 2.2 million, while MSNBC lagged with 1.2 million.
The week-earlier Saturday night viewership number for the cable news networks was only about 1.6 million across the same four cable channels, the piece points out.