Prime-Time Cable News Ratings Race Heats Up Again

Aug 31, 2004  •  Post A Comment

The Olympics helped boost MSNBC’s “Hardball With Chris Matthews” past CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360” for the third time in five months, according to data from Nielsen Media Research.

“Hardball” averaged 576,000 viewers for the Nielsen month of August (July 26-Aug. 27), a month-to-month increase of 33 percent and a year-to-year increase of 89 percent.

For August, “360” averaged 547,000 viewers, up 26 percent from July and up 30 percent compared with Sept. 2003, the month it launched, and its highest delivery in its first 11 months on the air.

CNN’s “360” won the competition for 25- to-54-year-olds, the prime news target audience, averaging 183,000 in August versus “Hardball’s” 137,000 viewers.

CNN broke down the month of August to show that before the Olympics started, “360” was averaging 582,000 viewers to “Hardball’s” 548,000.

MSNBC said its 8-11 p.m. viewership for August (523,000 viewers) showed a year-to-year boost of 95 percent, compared with top-rated Fox’s year-to-year prime-time growth of 26 percent and CNN’s increase of 23 percent.