From the Washington Post's TV Column:
On Friday in prime time, Fox News Channel maintained its lead over CNN, but it was a close race: FNC averaged 2.7 million viewers to CNN’s 2.6 million.
That day, CNN had pulled off the now rare feat of edging out FNC for the total day’s ratings lead.
CNN, which has taken a battering in the ratings (and in perception) of late, averaged 2.3 million viewers for the day last Friday — its biggest audience since the presidential inauguration in January 2009.
By Wednesday — the most recent day for which numbers are available — FNC was firmly back on top in the ratings, with an average of 2.5 million prime-time viewers to CNN’s 1.6 million. MSNBC was well behind, attracting 873,000 viewers.
Friday through Wednesday, CNN had averaged 1.9 million viewers and FNC 2.2 million. MSNBC averaged 807,000.
Given the American public’s ongoing interest in the tragedy in Japan, industry pundits are forecasting that CNN will beat MSNBC in prime time and in total day ratings for the month of March.
It would be the first time that CNN has accomplished such a ratings feat since Michael Jackson’s death in the summer of 2009.
From the NYTimes Media Decoder Blog:
Continuing interest in the breaking news out of Japan led CNN to a rare prime-time win over Fox News Wednesday night among the viewers most sought by news advertisers.
CNN’s lineup of hourlong programs averaged 679,000 viewers in the category of viewers between the ages of 25 and 54, edging the perennial leader, Fox News, which had 644,000. All of CNN’s programs, which were dedicated to the events in Japan, showed increases.
It was the first time CNN had moved ahead of Fox News in prime time among the 25-54 audience since August 2009, on a night that included coverage of the memorial to Senator Ted Kennedy.