Fox News Takes Weekly Ratings Crown

Fox News Channel's coverage of the April 15 Boston Marathon bombing and the April 19 manhunt for the suspects in the attack helped it garner a first-place ratings finish among all cable networks last week.

Fox News was the most-watched network during the week of April 15 to April 21, averaging 2.8 million viewers in primetime and 1.7 million on a total-day basis, according to Nielsen. It’s the first time the news network was tops among cable networks in both ratings categories without any political events taking place, since its coverage of Hurricane Katrina during the week of Aug. 29 2005, according to network officials.

USA Network finished second in primetime with 2.6 million viewers, followed by Disney Channel (2.1 million viewers); CNN (1.9 million) and History (1.9 million), according to Nielsen. Nickelodeon was second best in total day for the week with 1.6 million, followed by Disney Channel (1.5 million); CNN (1.3 million) and Adult Swim (1.2 million).

Six of the top 10 most-watched shows for the week were cable news shows that provided coverage of last Friday night’s dramatic capture of suspected bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, which capped a day-long manhunt that began early Friday morning with a shootout that left Dzhokhar’s brother and suspected co-conspirator, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, dead.

Overall on Friday, Fox drew 5.7 million viewers in the 7 p.m. hour when news broke of the eventual capture of Dzhokhar Tsrnaev, besting CNN’s 5.1 million and MSNBC’s 1.4 million viewers. During the 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. primetime hours, Fox News averaged 5.9 million viewers, followed by CNN’s 5.3 million and MSNBC’s 1.7 million watchers, according to Nielsen.

Most Watched Cable Shows During the Week of April 15-21

Date               Program                                       Network          Viewers

Source: Nielsen

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.