Michael Jackson's sudden death and the blitz of coverage surrounding the investigation and the custody of the Jackson children was enough to put CNN's primetime back into second place for the month of July.
CNN bested MSNBC by 57% in the news network's 25-54 demographic and 48% in total viewers (M-F), according to Nielsen Media Research. MSNBC surpassed CNN in primetime for first quarter 2009.
Larry King Live, which hosted a succession of Jackson friends and associates, experienced a 69% bump in the demo and 54% in total viewers, year-to-year.
Fox News Channel, the top-rated cable news network, posted a 70% increase in the primetime demo, year-to-year. The network was the third most-watched basic cable network behind USA and TNT and claims nine of the top ten cable news programs among total viewers.
The O'Reilly Factor was up 37% year to year, among total viewers, while Glenn Beck's 5 p.m. program posted a 120% gain. Sean Hannity and On the Record with Greta Van Susteren were up 41% and 60%, respectively.
HLN had its best July ever in the demo and total viewers in total day as well as primetime. Nancy Grace finished second at 8 p.m. for the month in the demo behind FNC's O'Reilly Factor.