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JUN
11
6 MOS

Eric Cantor Ouster Gooses Primary Ratings

The Republican House Majority Leader's surprise loss in the Virginia primary prompts huge gains for Fox News Channel during what otherwise would have been an uneventful election day.

Bret Baier Headshot - H 2013
Fox News Channel
Fox News Channel's Bret Baier

Midterm primaries don't typically make for riveting political theater, but Tuesday proved to be an exception.

Races in five states, receiving obligatory coverage on the cable news networks, got exciting late last night when Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost his Virginia primary to Tea Party-backed Dave Brat.

The upheaval, which prompted Cantor to step down on Wednesday afternoon, was a boon to Fox News Channel. As all networks broke into regularly scheduled programming during the 8 p.m. hour, FNC surged 57 percent above recent showings in the adults 25-54 demo to average just shy of 500,000 viewers. As for total viewers, the Bret Baier and Megyn Kelly-manned break-in averaged nearly 2.8 million viewers -- up 31 percent.

Staying the course with its new plan to air documentary specials at 9 p.m., CNN suspended Cantor coverage for its special report tied to the 20-year anniversary of the O.J. Simpson murder trial.

FNC's coverage of the Virginia surprise lasted throughout the rest of primetime, with Sean Hannity holding an exclusive interview with Brat.