12:58pm PT by Marisa Guthrie
HLN is Most-Watched Cable News Network During Casey Anthony Verdict
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).