Fox News Channel tops USA in cable ratings

NEW YORK (MediaWeek) - Fox News Channel last week won the cable ratings race for the first time since November 2008, drawing 3.21 million total viewers in primetime.

Boosted by its coverage of the Massachusetts special election, FNC beat USA Network by some 19,000 viewers during the week ended January 24, according to Nielsen live-plus-same-day ratings data.

Fox News’ primetime lineup for Tuesday, January 19, accounted for three of ad-supported cable’s 10 most-watched programs, as “The O’Reilly Factor” drew 5.23 million viewers at 8 p.m., followed by “Hannity” (6.81 million) and “On the Record with Greta van Susteren” (6.4 million).

The last time Fox News won the ratings crown was a little more than 14 months ago, during the week of the 2008 presidential election (November 3-9). In that seven-day stretch, Fox News averaged 3.54 million total viewers.

USA Network took second on the week (3.19 million viewers), helped by the January 21 mid-season premiere of “Burn Notice” (5.35 million viewers) and “WWE Raw” (5.29 million).

Disney Channel followed with 2.48 million viewers, just ahead of Nick at Nite (2.24 million). The Mouse continued its multiyear winning streak among the core kiddie demos. But Nick at Nite last week averaged 815,000 viewers 9-14, putting it within 93,000 viewers of its archrival.

TNT (1.98 million) was No. 5 for the week. Its biggest draw came in the form of the January 21 Lakers-Cavs tilt, which averaged 3.95 million viewers.