TV Ratings: Super Tuesday Tops Iowa Caucuses, Brings Wins for CNN and Fox News

Hillary Clinton - Getty - H 2016
Getty Images

Hillary Clinton - Getty - H 2016

Up from the start of primary season, March kicks off on a high note for the cable news networks.

Super Tuesday brought ratings surges to the cable news networks. With delegates up for grabs in 12 states, it was the busiest night of the primary/caucus season — and the highest-rated.

CNN won the biggest ratings race, topping in the key news demo during primetime. While most of the results were being called, the network averaged 1.598 million viewers in adults 25-54. That bested Fox News Channel's 1.364 million in the group. Both networks easily outpaced MSNBC's 625,000 viewers in the 25-54 group.

It's a strong start for March for all three nets, and it comes on the heels of CNN's demo win for the month of February — and before both FNC and CNN host additional GOP debates, dependable ratings paydirt, during the first two weeks of March.

Primetime's battle for total viewers went to FNC. The channel averaged nearly 4.9 million viewers between 8 and 11 p.m. Its No. 1 status put it ahead of CNN's robust 4.1 million viewers and MSNBC's nearly 2 million viewers. FNC also came out on top of one of the broadcast networks, besting ABC's showing in the 10 o'clock hour.

By all measurements, all three networks were up from the Iowa Caucuses. And, what's more, this race continues to deliver growth over the 2008 election calendar.

Compared to 2008, the last time nominations were up for grabs in both parties, FNC jumped 25 percent in the key demo and 40 percent with total viewers. CNN rose 5 percent with adults 25-54 and saw a 12 percent rise in audience. MSNBC trailed, losing 39 percent of its showing in the key demo and dropping 6 percent among total viewers.

Next up is Thursday's GOP debate, where Donald Trump will take questions from FNC moderator Megyn Kelly for the first time since August, when he started publicly mocking the Kelly File host after she grilled him about his history of off-color comments about women.