Casey Anthony Trial Propels HLN to Highest-Rated Month Ever

The network even tops Fox News during some daytime hours for the month of June.
AP Photo/Joe Burbank, Pool

Casey Anthony’s murder trial has propelled HLN to its highest-rated month ever, topping MSNBC in primetime and total day for the month of June and even beating out perennial cable news leader Fox News in the 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. hours when trial testimony was at its height.

HLN -- which has been airing gavel-to-gavel coverage of the trial -- averaged 982,000 total viewers with 292,000 in news’ target demographic of 25-54-year-olds for year-over-year gains of 86 percent and 79 percent, respectively. In total day, HLN averaged 601,000 total viewers with 192,000 in the demo for gains of 98 and 48 percent.

Nancy Grace, who has become the face of HLN’s Anthony trial coverage, has seen tune-in for her primetime show rise more than 80 percent in total viewers (1.5 million) and the demo (452,000) in June, putting her behind only Bill O’Reilly among cable news competitors at 8 p.m.

For the quarter, HLN posted primetime gains of 12 percent in total viewers (549,000) and 8 percent in the demo (170,000) year-over-year.

Additional highlights for second quarter cable news ratings:

Fox News Channel dominated the competition once again. The network notched the top 12 cable news shows among total viewers and the top eight programs in the demo led by The O’Reilly Factor, which averaged 2.8 million viewers with 636,000 in the demo. But Glenn Beck, who has his last show Thursday, was down 25 percent in total viewers.

MSNBC topped CNN in primetime (Mon-Fri) for the quarter among total viewers (912,000 to 722,000) and the demo (273,000 to 234,000). The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell was down 12 percent in total viewers and 5 percent in the demo compared to second quarter 2010 when Countdown with Keith Olbermann was airing. But The Rachel Maddow Show had its best quarter since first quarter 2009, which included the inauguration of Barack Obama.

Piers Morgan Tonight was up 16 percent in the demo (207,000) compared to second quarter 2010 when Larry King Live was still airing at 9 p.m. However Morgan was down 33 percent in the demo compared to his first quarter on the air, which was marked by strong tune-in for a star-studded premiere week. At 10 p.m., Anderson Cooper 360 was up year-to-year, topping MSNBC’s The Ed Show among total viewers (843,000 to 805,000) and the demo (304,000 to 260,000).