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Fox News Boosted by Iran Nuclear Deal Coverage

The cable channel saw a 25 percent uptick in the key demo on Saturday night. Compare that to MSNBC’s fall

Iran reached a deal Saturday with world leaders to limit the nation’s nuclear program in exchange for lighter economic sanctions. Naturally, cable news reacted accordingly, to mixed results.

The news broke Saturday evening, with President Obama addressing the nation from 10:34 p.m. ET to 10:40 p.m. —  a little over five minutes. While the three big cable news networks covered the breaking event, Fox News Channel (FNC) was easily the most watched.

That may not be anything new, but the really story lies in FNC’s uptick versus its competitors downward slide during the 10 p.m. ET hour — the hour Obama addressed the nation.

Also read: Fox News Stands By Its Benghazi Reporting

Fox News Channel’s Harris Faulkner anchored live coverage with additional contributions from Judith Miller via phone. FNC was the only network to take Sec. John Kerry’s remarks. Both paid off.

According to Nielsen early time period data, FNC earned 981,000 viewers overall during the time period. In the 25-54 demo — the key one for cable news — Fox News’ 199,000 viewers represented a 25 percent boost above its 2013 year-to-date numbers.

CNN’s coverage, helmed by Wolf Blitzer, was almost flat with its average overall during the 10 – 11 p.m.hour, slightly down in the demo. CNN received 511,000 viewers overall; 163,000 of which came from the demo.

David Gregory’s MSNBC coverage faired worse, down 36 percent overall year to date and 21 percent in the demo. MSNBC got 312,000 total viewers, 203,000 in the demo.

Final numbers will be in on Tuesday.

All three of the cable news networks were airing special coverage of the deal during the hour. The nets exited breaking news mode by 11:26 p.m.