The continuing financial crisis, the presidential transition and the terrorist attacks in Mumbai juiced cable news ratings for the month of November.
Fox News Channel once again finished the month as the No. 3 ranked basic cable network in primetime while CNN was No. 6 and MSNBC was No. 8. November marks FNC’s 83rd consecutive month as the most-watched cable news network in total day and primetime.
Meanwhile, CNN was crowing about edging out FNC in news’ target demographic of 25-54 year olds for total day, the first time CNN has done so in seven years.
For total day, CNN averaged 368,000 viewers in the demo compared to FNC’s 355,000. MSNBC averaged 290,000 viewers in the demo. In total viewers, FNC averaged 1.27 million viewers for total day, a gain of 60% compared to the same period last year. CNN averaged 961,000 for a gain of 115% and MSNBC averaged 703,000 for a gain of 132%, compared to November 2007.
Wolf Blitzer’s Situation Room prevailed in the demo in three of its four hours (3, 4 and 5 p.m.).
But while CNN had its best primetime numbers in recent memory, MSNBC also had a very good month.
In the 7 p.m. hour, MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews beat CNN’s Lou Dobbs in total viewers and the demo for a gain of more than 200% compared to Nov. 2007. At 8 p.m., MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann grew its audience by 147% and 170% in total viewers and the demo, respectively, beating CNN’s Campbell Brown in total viewers (2.1 million to 1.3 million) and the demo (783,000 to 472,000). At 9 p.m. Rachel Maddow again edged out Larry King in total viewers (1.8 million to 1.7 million) and posted a more decisive win in the demo (677,000 to 565,000).
FNC as usual had the top rated programs – in total viewers and the demo – at 7 p.m., 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. with Fox Report, The O’Reilly Factor and Hannity & Colmes.
At 10 p.m., CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 easily prevailed over a rebroadcast of Countdown in total viewers (1.7 million to 1.1 million) and the demo (742,000 to 422,000). And while FNC’s On the Record clocked a win in total viewers for the 10 p.m. hour (2.4 million), 360 beat On the Record in the demo (688,000 to 656,000).
CNBC also continued to ride the financial crisis to ratings gold, posting its best November ever and growing its business day audience (Mon.-Fri., 5 a.m. -7 p.m.) by nearly 40% compared to November 2007.
Squawk Box was up 47% while Closing Bell was up 42% and 54% at 3 p.m. and 4 p.m., respectively. And 5 p.m. trading roundtable Fast Money posted a gain of 41% compared to the November 2007.