HLN is Most-Watched Cable News Network During Casey Anthony Verdict

More than 5 million people watched the live verdict on HLN, giving the network its most watched hour ever.

The Casey Anthony verdict gave HLN its most watched hour in network history with 4.6 million viewers tuning in between 2-3 p.m. ET when the ruling was read live from the Florida courtroom. Viewership peaked from 2:15-2:30 p.m. when 5.2 million viewers (with 1.9 million of them among news’ target demographic of 25-54-year-olds) tuned in.

HLN easily beat the cable news competition on Tuesday, besting perennial leader Fox News in the 2 p.m. hour by 79 percent (2.9 million viewers) and MSNBC by almost 500 percent (920,000 viewers). Sister network CNN's coverage peaked at 2.3 million viewers shortly after 2:30 p.m.

HLN became the go-to TV destination for the trial with gavel-to-gavel coverage from Orange Country, Florida. Casey Anthony’s shocking acquittal of first-degree murder charges in the 2008 death of her two-year-old daughter Caylee Anthony has spurred a spirited national debate – on TV and social networking site Twitter.

And the ratings lift for the verdict lifted HLN's primetime ratings. The network was the top-rate cable news network in the demo with with 901,000 demo, topping Fox News by 46 percent (616,000) and MSNBC by 236 percent (268,000).

Nancy Grace’s 8 p.m. program averaged 2.9 million viewers (1.3 million in the demo) beating Fox News’ O’Reilly Factor in the demo by 72 percent (747,000). It was Grace’s best ever tune-in among total viewers and the demo.

Grace was also No. 1 in the 9 p.m. timeslot pulling in 2.2 million viewers (with 909,000 in the demo). For the week of June 27, HLN ranked No. 6 among all basic cable networks in primetime (and No. 7 in total day). 

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