TV Ratings: CNN's 'Blackfish' Doc Scores Big With Younger Viewers


U.S.A. (Director: Gabriela Cowperthwaite)

Notorious killer whale Tilikum is responsible for the deaths of three individuals, including a top Sea World trainer. Blackfish shows the devastating consequences of keeping such intelligent and sentient creatures in captivity.

Blackfish saw its TV debut on Thursday night, and the critical darling nabbed significant ratings wins for CNN.

The CNN Films documentary, which explores the consequences (human and animal) of keeping killer whales in captivity, won the 9-11 p.m. block with an average 472,000 viewers in the adults 25-54 demographic. That easily put the network on top of Fox News Channel (311,000) and MSNBC (235,000).

REVIEW: Blackfish

Blackfish fared even stronger among adults 18-49, averaging 688,000 in the younger demo. That easily tops the combined scores of FNC (216,000) and MSNBC (173,000). Besting all other CNN Films this year, the Sundance Film Festival favorite premiered after a big promotional push from the network.

Total viewers for the two-hour block saw FNC maintain its typical lead with 1.89 million viewers, but CNN rose to a strong second with 1.36 million viewers. MSNBC averaged 867,0000.

Anderson Cooper followed Blackfish with a 90-minute AC Special Report at 11 p.m. It placed second to FNC (1.2 million viewers, 334,000 adults 25-54) with 560,000 viewers and 231,000 in the demo. (MSNBC averaged 361,000 viewers and 74,000 adults 25-54 for the same time period.)