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With no eleventh hour Justin Bieber boost to speak of, CNN wrapped January with its third-lowest month on record among total viewers. Its average daily haul managed to slip below even sister net HLN in the key news demographic of adults 25-54.
Rankings among the trio of Fox News Channel, MSNBC and CNN otherwise remained intact, with FNC topping total day and primetime and MNSBC ranking second in both total day and the demo and in both measures — but an interesting dark horse entered the cable news program rankings in January.
CNBC, ever a distant fifth in the cable news wars, started airing off-net repeats of ABC hit Shark Tank on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. Those reruns averaged 276,000 viewers in the advertiser-friendly adults 25-54. That was enough to make Shark Tank the No. 6 program across all of cable news for the month, topping everything on CNN and, with the exception of The Rachel Maddow Show, MSNBC.
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The O’Reilly Factor, The Five, The Kelly File, Special Report With Bret Baier and Maddow were the five shows that managed to outperform Shark Tank. Among total viewers, Shark Tank ranked a distant No. 21 with 541,000 — with FNC now sweeping the top 14 for a full year and MSNBC’s primetime players all outranking the reality show. Shark Tank pulled in more viewers than any CNN show.
Shark Tank seemed like an unorthodox choice for CNBC, which continues to make a push into alternative programming, but the initial ratings are quite the vote of confidence.
Turning attention away from the month’s big outlier, FNC was the only network up compared to last January in total viewers. In primetime’s 8-11 p.m. block, both FNC and MSNBC were also barely off in the key demo — 1 percent and 2 percent, respectively — while CNN dropped 35 percent. During the 7-11 p.m. block, MSNBC was the only network up, improving 4 percent. Good news for MSNBC included a new demo high for the not-yet-a-year-old All in With Chris Hayes.
CNN continues to struggle with New Day and Crossfire, which hit new lows in January — one factor contributing to its total day demo haul (98,000 viewers) slipping below HLN (101,000). Among total viewers (317,000), CNN’s monthly haul was its third-lowest since 1991.
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