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Ratings Increase for Fox, Headline

Jul 11, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Ratings racked up by Greta Van Susteren and Nancy Grace lifted Fox News Channel and CNN Headline News, respectively, while CNN and MSNBC showed year-to-year losses for total day and prime time during the month of June and the second quarter of 2005.

For June “On the Record With Greta Van Susteren,” which dug into the case of Natalee Holloway, the American teen missing in Aruba, averaged 1.81 million total viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research. That was the show’s best performance of the year and a 45 percent improvement over June 2004. Ms. Van Susteren’s show moved ahead of Fox News’ “Hannity & Colmes” (1.79 million viewers, up 18 percent) to rank second only to Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor” (2.3 million viewers, up 9 percent year to year) among all cable news shows for the month.

“Nancy Grace,” which debuted on Headline News in late February, averaged 518,000 viewers in June, a year-to-year improvement of 239 percent for the time slot. For June, the show ranked fifth among CNN News Group shows, behind CNN programs “Larry King Live” (1.1 million viewers, down 21 percent), “NewsNight With Aaron Brown” (623,000 viewers, down 21 percent), “Paula Zahn Now” (562,000 viewers, down 3 percent) and “Anderson Cooper 360” (545,000 viewers, up 7 percent). The repeat of “Nancy Grace” at 11 p.m. (ET) averaged 388,000 viewers, up 97 percent from the time slot in June 2004.

Fox News averaged 1.7 million viewers in prime time during June, its best monthly showing of the year and a 14 percent improvement over June 2004. CNN averaged 688,000 viewers, a year-to-year decrease of 27 percent. Sister channel Headline News finished third for the month, averaging 378,000 viewers, a year-to-year increase of 82 percent. MSNBC averaged 307,000 viewers in prime time for the month, a year-to-year loss of 18 percent.

For total day in June, Fox News averaged 896,000 viewers, up 6 percent year to year. CNN averaged 385,000, down 20 percent. Headline News averaged 228,000, up 19 percent. MSNBC averaged 198,000 viewers, down 14 percent.

For the second quarter, Fox News averaged 1.5 million viewers in prime time and 817,000 for total day, up 9 percent and flat, respectively, year to year. CNN averaged 721,000 (down 13 percent) and 423,000 (down 10 percent) for prime time and total day, respectively. Headline News averaged 322,000 (up 63 percent) in prime time and 223,000 (up 19 percent) for total day. MSNBC averaged 310,000 (down 4 percent) and 210,000 (down 7 percent).

CNN noted year-to-year quarterly increases in the key news demo of 25- to 54-year-old viewers for “Anderson Cooper” (5 percent), “Paula Zahn” (19 percent) and “Larry King” (3 percent). In contrast, year-to-year quarterly demographic losses were posted by Fox’s “Fox Report With Shepard Smith” (26 percent), “The O’Reilly Factor” (24 percent) and “Hannity & Colmes” (18 percent).

MSNBC’s “The Abrams Report,” which was able to profit from intense focus on such stories as Michael Jackson’s trial and acquittal and the Holloway disappearance in Aruba, was the network’s only weeknight program to post a quarterly improvement in total viewers (up 13 percent) and in the 25 to 54 demo (also up 13 percent).

On the other hand, “Countdown With Keith Olbermann” in June averaged 318,000 viewers on MSNBC, down only 1 percent year to year but 23 percent lower than Phil Donahue’s average of 414,000, which got him canceled after seven months on MSNBC’s weeknight lineup in late 2002 and early 2003.