Fox News Vaults To Top Of Primetime Ratings
RNC Addresses Set Course; ESPN Second With College Football
By R. Thomas Umstead — Multichannel News, 9/10/2008 11:15:00 AM
Who says no one watches political conventions?
Fox News Channel’s coverage of GOP Presidential nominee John McCain’s Sept. 4 acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention drew 9.2 million viewers, topping all other basic cable shows last week, according to Nielsen Media Research data. All told, McCain’s moment was the most-watched convention coverage ever, drawing 38.9 million viewers between cable and broadcast outlets.
Coming in a close second for cable was Fox News’s Sept. 3 airing of the highly anticipated speech from Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, which drew 9.0 million viewers. The GOP acceptance speeches ranked as the third- and fourth-most-watched shows in the network’s history.
The acceptance addresses from St. Paul also marked the second week in a row that political programs were cable’s most- viewed shows: CNN’s 8 million viewers for its coverage of Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama’s Aug. 28 address in Denver topped all shows during the last week of August.
Fox News Channel — repeating its 2004 performance, defeated all broadcast and cable competition during the three nights of the RNC from St.Paul — was the most-watched network in primetime for the week of Sept. 1 through Sept. 7, averaging a 3.2 household rating and 3.04 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research.
ESPN, riding the strong performance of two primetime college football telecasts, finished second with a 2.2 rating and 2.16 million viewers on average.
This year’s leader USA Network (2.1 and 2.02 million) dropped into a third-place tie with TNT (2.1 and 2.07 million). Boosted by the RNC, CNN was knotted with Disney Channel with a 1.9 rating and 1.85 million and 1.79 million viewers on average, respectively. MSNBC, embattled with the demotion of convention anchors Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann, also received a bump from its coverage St, Paul: The service was tied for 20th for the week with a 0.9 mark and 856,000 watchers on average in primetime.
Filed under: Presidentual Race 2008