Capitalizing on interest in mounting Syria coverage on the cable news networks, CNN debuted its Crossfire reboot a week early on Monday night to some boosted numbers for the time slot.
The panel talker, which originally ran on the network from 1982 to 2005, relaunched with Newt Gingrich, Stephanie Cutter, Van Jones and S. E. Cupp. Fast National returns from Nielsen give the series a solid 581,000 viewers — 171,000 of them in the ad-friendly adults 25-54 demo.
It’s modest, though not disappointing, start for the latest launch under Jeff Zucker. The half-hour series did not approach reigning time slot victor Fox News’ Special Report With Bret Baier (2.4 million viewers in the half-hour, 284,000 of them in the demo), but it did best MSNBC between 6:30 and 7 p.m.. Crossfire outmatched PoliticsNation with Al Sharpton (116,000 adults 25-54) by a margin of 55,000. (617,000 viewers tuned into PoliticsNation, making Crossfire third in viewers.)
The half-hour was up 44 percent in total viewers and 21 percent in the targeted demo compared to the past four Mondays. The network, which had enjoyed a primetime advantage over MSNBC the previous two months, fell back to third place in August. This time last year, CNN was pulling in 319,000 viewers and 121,000 adults 25-54 in the time slot.
As with any cable news series, it’s difficult to make many judgments about ratings after just one episode. Numbers tend to fluctuate throughout the week. And anticipation over President Obama‘s Tuesday address on Syria will likely boost all three cable news networks considerably.