TV Ratings: Fox News Leads Viewership Surge During Obama's Syria Address

Obama Syria Speech - H 2013
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Obama Syria Speech - H 2013

The generous heads up before President Obama's Tuesday White House address worked out quite well for the cable news networks, with Fox News Channel, CNN and MSNBC all swelling from typical primetime returns during the 17-minute speech.

FNC reaped the most benefits, averaging a massive 4.04 million viewers during the breakout -- 939,000 of them adults 25-54. Post-speech analysis, led by Special Report host Bret Baier, also brought a boosted win in primetime. The three-hour block averaged 3.08 million viewers and 651,000 adults 25-54.

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Just a day after launching its Crossfire reboot with Newt Gingrich to modest growth, though night two fell 20 percent, CNN also saw a boost at 9 p.m. The network's coverage was roughly half of FNC's, with 1.91 million viewers tuning in. Their growth was more impressive in the demo. 683,000 adults 25-54 watched. Primetime gave the network an average 1.2 million viewers (434,000 of them 25-54).

Unlike its competitors, MSNBC did not break out the president's address as separate from the rest of its lineup. Instead, MSNBC packaged it as part of a two-hour pre and post analysis led by Rachel Maddow and Chris Hayes. That brought in 1.2 million viewers, 310,000 of them adults 25-54. Since the full primetime included only one more hour, their nightly average was quite similar: 1.11 million viewers and 297,000 viewers 25-54.

Final returns are not yet available for the broadcast networks -- but NBC News, buoyed by the night's only block of originals, was the clear victor among the Big Four.