12:54pm PT by Marisa Guthrie
Newt Gingrich's South Carolina Victory Gives Fox News Ratings Win
Fox News Channel led the cable news competition for coverage of Saturday’s South Carolina primary. From 7-11 p.m., Fox News averaged 2.6 million viewers with 703,000 of them in news’ target demographic of viewers 25-54.
Most television news organization declared Newt Gingrich – who pummeled Mitt Romney – the winner at the top of the 7 p.m. hour; polls officially closed in South Carolina at 7 p.m. ET.
CNN finished second for the night averaging 1.2 million viewers – its best tune-in for a primary this cycle – with 471,000 in the demo. MSNBC averaged 985,000 viewers from 7-11 p.m. with 240,000 in the demo.
The South Carolina primary was not exactly close, unlike the Iowa caucus, which had eight votes separating Romney and Rick Santorum, and last week was awarded to Santorum after a recount. But Gingrich’s clear victory over heretofore GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney gave the cable news networks a ready-made and engaging redemption narrative for the evening.