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CNN’s ‘The Sixties’ Tops Night in Demo: Jeff Zucker Touts ‘This Is What CNN Is All About’

The cable news network president scripted a glowing internal memo on Friday, posted here

Nostalgia and color TV are powerful weapons.

CNN’s latest episode of “The Sixties” debuted Thursday as the No. 1 program in the cable news demo at both 9 and 10 p.m. The latter hour was an encore.

At 9, the premiere of “When Television Came of Age” averaged 284,000 viewers in the key 25-54 demo. Fox News pulled in 273,000 viewers and MSNBC posted 115,000.

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In total viewers, CNN finished second with 1.4 million, topping MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show,” which had 723,000. Fox News topped the hour with 1.9 million total viewers.

Last night’s numbers represent a 190 percent increase in the demo 25-54 (284,000 vs. 98,000) for CNN and a 312 percent jump in total viewers (1.4 million vs. 337,000) as compared to prior four-week average.

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At 10, the encore averaged 243,000 in the demo. Fox News followed with 239,000 and MSNBC had 104,000.

Among total viewers, CNN averaged 946,000 to MSNBC’s 532,000. Fox News again won the hour in total viewers with 1.4 million.

“The Sixties” is executive produced by Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman (“John Adams“) of Playtone, and Mark Herzog (“Gettysburg”) of Herzog & Co. (HCO). The 10-part CNN Original Series explores the landmark cultural, political, and technological changes during the 1960’s.

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CNN’s Jeff Zucker touted the show’s success — as well as the network’s recent Veterans Affairs reporting — in an internal memo to employees on Friday, which TheWrap obtained. Here’s the note:

May 30, 2014

I wanted to take a moment to tell you how proud I am to work at CNN today.

Because today we have seen the true scope of what CNN is and can be.

Outstanding, months-long reporting on the VA story by the team of Drew Griffin, Nelli Black, Scott Bronstein and Curt Devine is what exposed a terrible situation at the Veterans Administration. And while their goal was never to force anyone’s resignation, our goal is always to hold officials responsible for wrongdoing. The commitment of “AC 360” to “Keeping Them Honest” and our investigative team is what exposed the multitude of problems at the VA.

I wanted to take this moment to thank Drew and his team, Patricia DiCarlo at the investigative unit, the team at “AC 360,” as well as Richard Griffiths, Lee Williams and Steve Holmes for helping shepherd this incredibly important story.

This is what CNN is about.

At the same time, CNN is now also about all types of storytelling. And we proved that again last night with the successful launch of the new CNN Original Series, “The Sixties.”  I want to congratulate Amy Entelis, Vinnie Malhotra and Lizzie Kerner for their exemplary work in bringing this series to life. And to the entire marketing and communications teams for making sure that the world knew it was there. What began last night, and will unfold over the course of the next 11 weeks, is what the audience also wants and expects from us.

CNN is evolving. Our commitment to news, investigative journalism and inspired storytelling is what we are all about.