Democratic contenders boost Fox News

Clinton, Obama interviews do big numbers

Long shunned by Democrats and shut out of their high-rated primary debates, Fox News Channel scored last week with a little help from Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

The two made high-profile appearances on the news channel, Clinton in a two-part interview for "The O'Reilly Factor" and Obama in a long-awaited interview for "Fox News Sunday" with Chris Wallace.

Fox News vaulted into third place among all cable networks in primetime for the week ending Sunday, according to Nielsen Media Research. Although Fox is no stranger to the top 10, this week's performance was due in large part to the two-part interview that trounced the cable-news competition Wednesday and Thursday.

Fox News averaged 1.8 million viewers in primetime, behind only TNT (2.8 million) and USA (2.3 million). By comparison, CNN was 19th and MSNBC was 27th. Fox News also was seventh in total day with 992,000 viewers, while CNN was 22nd and MSNBC came in 29th.

Wednesday's hour of "O'Reilly" with Clinton averaged 3.7 million viewers, including 939,000 in adults 25-54. Thursday's hour averaged 3.2 million viewers, including 694,000 in the demo. They were up 30% in viewers and 45% in the demo compared with the show's average this month.

Although the Obama interview on "Fox News Sunday" wasn't included in last week's ratings, it did well, too. The four airings -- three on the news channel and one on the broadcast channel -- totaled 4.4 million viewers. It had been marked by "Obama Watch," Wallace's calling out the Democratic candidate for his promise to appear on the show but not fulfilling it for 772 days.