Fox News on top for RNC's second night

Cable net sees 6.2 mil viewers in the 10 p.m. ET hour

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Fox News Channel's coverage of Tuesday's Republican National Convention surpassed all others, broadcast or cable.

Fox News was out in front by a wide margin, with 6.2 million viewers in the 10 p.m. ET hour, Nielsen Media Research said Thursday. The ratings had been delayed a day.

That was well ahead of second-place NBC, which averaged 4.5 million viewers. CNN, which had led last week for the Democratic National Convention, averaged 3.2 million viewers. CNN came out ahead of either ABC (3.1 million) or CBS (2.9 million). MSNBC averaged 1.6 million viewers for its 10 p.m. coverage.

Overall RNC viewership was down 17% compared with last Tuesday's Democratic National Convention, which featured a speech in the same hour by Hillary Clinton. Tuesday's RNC had primetime speeches by President Bush, former Sen. Fred Thompson and onetime Democrat Joe Lieberman.

But that all might change with Wednesday night's ratings, which are due later today from Nielsen. The controversy surrounding Gov. Sarah Palin could draw upward of 30 million viewers, significantly more than the audience for Joe Biden's acceptance space last week.

For the entire night, Fox News was on top with 5.1 million viewers between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. with CNN averaging 2.5 million viewers and MSNBC, 1.4 million.