The first day of coverage of the pope’s U.S. visit by former “NBC Nightly News” anchor Brian Williams gave a solid ratings bump to MSNBC.
Citing Nielsen data, the Los Angeles Times reports that the cable news channel drew 526,000 viewers between 3 and 5 p.m. ET Tuesday, when Williams was covering the pope’s arrival. That number represents a 57% improvement on the time period’s four-week average.
But MSNBC still has some catching up to do in its battle with cable news rivals Fox News and CNN. Fox had the largest audience for its coverage with 1.2 million viewers, although that number was down 12% from its four-week average. CNN had a bump similar to MSNBC’s, drawing 920,000 viewers — up 59%.
The Times report notes: “While Williams did not make MSNBC competitive with its cable news rivals (his appearance was promoted on the air only a few hours before he went on), the ratings grew enough to show that viewers are not turned off by his return after the suspension.”