'Larry King' hot thanks to Hilton


Larry King might not have been Paris Hilton's first choice for her first out-of-jail interview, but the telecast brought the CNN talkmeister back to No. 1 in the ratings for a night.

Hilton's one-hour interview on Wednesday's "Larry King Live" averaged 3.2 million viewers, according to live-plus-same-day ratings released Thursday by Nielsen Media Research. That beat Fox News Channel's "Hannity & Colmes," which almost always wins at 9 p.m., as well as traditional cable news winner "The O'Reilly Factor."

"O'Reilly's" Wednesday show averaged 2.6 million viewers at 8 p.m. EDT; "Hannity & Colmes" averaged 1.6 million viewers.

The demo ratings built quarter-hour by quarter-hour as the viewership increased until about 9:45 p.m., then dropped slightly.

It also overwhelmingly won the hour and the night in the demo with 1.4 million adults 25-54 tuning in. Wednesday's show was King's highest telecast since Sept. 21, 2005, when 4.9 million viewers tuned in for breaking news that included the emergency landing of a JetBlue flight in Los Angeles and Hurricane Rita. It also surpassed King's high-profile interview of Star Jones Reynolds on June 29, 2006, after her departure from "The View" (that averaged 3 million viewers). By comparison, Tuesday's "Larry King Live" averaged 1.5 million viewers, including 483,000 in adults 25-54.

That once-in-a-blue-moon boost gave CNN the win against Fox News Channel in primetime, though Fox came out ahead in total day. It even helped CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360," which averaged 1.9 million viewers from 10-11 p.m.

However, the Hilton interview doesn't come close to King's greatest hits, ranking far behind other telecasts in the ratings.