Fox News gets boost from political programs

Obama, McCain profiles both top 2 mil viewers

NEW YORK -- Political-themed programming this week has worked wonders for the already high ratings of the Fox News Channel.

Special "Character & Conduct" profiles of the two presidential candidates scored high in the cable news ratings taking the place of the vacationing Bill O'Reilly.

On Monday, the Barack Obama documentary hosted by Bill Hemmer averaged 2.3 million viewers, Nielsen Media Research said. That compared with 1.1 million viewers for MSNBC's "Countdown" and 687,000 for CNN's "Election Center." It also beat "The O'Reilly Factor" average July ratings, which are 2.2 million.

There were 493,000 viewers 25-54 for the Fox News documentary. Later that night, "Hannity & Colmes" built upon the documentary's ratings for 2.5 million viewers with its interview of Pastor Rick Warren.

Tuesday's documentary on John McCain averaged 2.6 million viewers, compared with 1.3 million for MSNBC's "Countdown" and 499,000 for CNN's "Election Center." The McCain documentary averaged 569,000 in adults 25-54, while "Countdown" averaged 436,000 and "Election Center" 178,000.

That's all atop Fox News Channel's win last Saturday among the three cable newsers of the Saddleback Presidential Forum, where both Obama and McCain were interviewed by Pastor Rick Warren. Fox News Channel's two-hour coverage averaged 2.8 million viewers with CNN's 1.9 million and MSNBC's 871,000. Among the adults 25-54 demo, Fox averaged 678,000 viewers to CNN's 556,000 and MSNBC's 395,000.