CNN was back in second place in the primetime demographic for the month of January for the first time since July 2009.
MSNBC's menu of primetime personalities had overtaken CNN in the 25-54 demographic targeted by cable news networks. But a month dominated by strong news coverage from Haiti helped propel CNN.
For the month, CNN averaged 259,000 viewers in the demo to MSNBC's 226,000.
Fox News Channel showed double-digit year-to-year growth, the only network to do so. January 2009 was marked by the inauguration of President Obama, which elevated ratings at CNN in particular. All three networks have shown growth in primetime among total viewers and the demo compared to December 2009. Month-to-month, CNN is up 49% in the demo, FNC is up 27% and MSNBC is up 8%.
In primetime for the month of January, FNC beat CNN and MSNBC combined in total viewers (2.4 million) and the demo (637,000), according to Nielsen. (All numbers are based on a Monday-Sunday average.) The network also had the top 13 cable news programs in total viewers and the demo led by The O'Reilly Factor, Hannity and Glenn Beck.
At 7 p.m. FNC's Fox Report with Shepard Smith was No. 1 with 2.19 million total viewers and 552,000 in the demo followed by CNN's The Situation Room (725,000 total viewers, 223,000 in the demo). MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews was third in total viewers (609,000) but fourth in the demo behind HLN's Issues with Jane Valez-Mitchell (170,000 versus 147,000).
At 8 p.m., O'Reilly was far in front of the field averaging 3.81 million total viewers with 988,000 in the demo. MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermannn was a distant second among total viewers (1.01 million), but fell to third in the demo behind HLN's Nancy Grace (283,000 versus 267,000). CNN's Campbell Brown was fourth among total viewers (787,000) and the demo (233,000).
At 9 p.m., Hannity was firmly in the top spot averaging 2.88 million total viewers and 785,000 in the demo. CNN's Larry King Live bested MSNBC's Rachel Maddow among total viewers (930,000 versus 876,000) and the demo (264,000 versus 233,000).
At 10 p.m., FNC's On the Record with Greta van Susteren more than doubled CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 among total viewers (2.34 million versus 906,000) and the demo (649,000 versus 305,000).