TV Ratings: CNN Tops News Demo in February

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Donald Trump at CNN's GOP debate

Meanwhile, Fox News Channel bests all of basic cable in total viewers — a feat the network last held during the Iraq War.

CNN wrapped a slightly extended February — 29 days this year, in lieu of the usual 28 — with a noteworthy win in the key news demographic. The network swiped Fox News Channel's typical victory among adults 25-54 by 73,000 viewers during primetime over the course of the election-blanketed month.

Per Nielsen Media, the cable network, averaged 500,000 viewers with the set for the entire month. That makes it No. 1 to FNC's 427,000 adults 25-54. (MSNBC ranked No. 3 with 244,00 adults 25-54.) For CNN, it marked the most-watched and highest-rated primetime the cable network has enjoyed since November 2008. In the key demo, it also marked a dramatic 217 percent jump from the prior February.

In addition to the fact that CNN was the only cable news network to host two presidential candidate debates, one for the GOP (Feb. 26) and another for the Democrats (Feb. 11), the network lured campaign watchers with multiple town halls that popped during primetime.

And while FNC winning total viewers may be nothing new, it managed quite a feat for the month. For the first time in 13 years, FNC actually boasted the biggest audience in all of ad-supported cable for the entire month — in both total day and primetime. FNC's total day haul stands at 1.343 million viewers, while primetime nabbed 2.233 million viewers. (In primetime, CNN boasted 1.618 million viewers and MSNBC took 978,000.)

It's the first time FNC has topped all of basic cable for a month since the Iraq War in 2003. In its victory, it also tops ESPN, USA and TNT in all day parts.

MSNBC had something to brag about in the a.m.. Morning Joe had its best month in more than two years with Morning Joe besting CNN for second-place status in the key demo, averaging 155,000 adults 25-54.

News of the ratings wins comes on Super Tuesday. And while that means the party-specific debates will soon come to an end, the 2016 election continues to be fertile ground for ratings success — especially now that Donald Trump doesn't look to be leaving the race anytime soon.

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