CNN found a way to come out on top in the cable news ratings Saturday night, and for a change it wasn't because of the missing Malaysia Airlines jet. Deadline.com reports that the cable channel gave full coverage to the White House Correspondents Dinner and wound up on top both in total viewers and in the key news demo of viewers 25-54 for much of the evening.
"CNN led the cable news charge Saturday night at 10 p.m. when the White House Correspondents Dinner was in full boil," the story reports. "The network flooded the zone with three hours of Nerd Prom, starting at about 8 p.m. ET. MSNBC began its coverage at 9 p.m. Fox News Channel stuck with its regular schedule until 10 p.m., when it switched to a special on the Benghazi investigation. FNC ran the guts of the WHCD — President Obama’s speech followed by NBCU star Joel McHale — at midnight."
Among the big three cable news nets, CNN won the 9 p.m. ET hour in the news demo, although Fox News won total viewers, and CNN won both the demo and total viewers in the 10 p.m. hour.
The numbers for 9 p.m. show CNN with 752,000 viewers, including 197,000 in the news demo; MSNBC with 443,000 and 151,000; and Fox News with 1.31 million viewers, the most of the three, but only 137,000 in the demo.
At 10 p.m. it's CNN on top in both measures, with 1.083 million viewers (336,000 in the demo); MSNBC with 846,000 (261,000 in the demo); and Fox News with 922,000 (87,000 in the demo).
"In the 11 p.m. hour CNN and MSNBC crashed — to 618,000 and 453,000 viewers, respectively. FNC did same, landing at 469,000 viewers for the hour overall," the report notes, adding: "FNC’s replay of the dinner and its speechifying, at midnight, averaged 493,000 viewers (142,000 in demo)."
One network paid even more attention to the dinner than CNN did, Deadline notes. "C-Span had the most comprehensive coverage of the annual Hollywood celebrity petting zoo for Washington press and the government officials they cover," the story notes. "Once again, C-Span’s coverage began with its traditional camera-trained-on-boom-mike coverage of celebs arriving at the hotel and the C-Span LeahyCam. Sadly C-Span is not rated by Nielsen, so those of you who watched on that network are lost to history."