CNN stepped up on Saturday night to cover the death of Whitney Houston wall to wall in prime time — and it paid off with one of the strongest recent nights in the ratings for the cable channel.
CNN dominated the competition that night, as word of Ms. Houston’s death was breaking, attracting two and three times the audiences of its rival news channels.
For the full duration of coverage, from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m., CNN averaged 2.17 million viewers, well ahead of the usually dominant Fox News, which averaged 1.34 million total viewers, and MSNBC, which trailed far behind with only 652,000 viewers.
CNN had a much bigger advantage, however, among the viewers who attract advertising dollars for cable news networks, those between the ages of 25 and 54. In that category, CNN easily beat its two rivals’ results — combined. CNN averaged 1.06 million among 25-to-54 viewers. Fox had only 377,000 in that group, and MSNBC had just 317,000.