Ratings: Fox News, CNN Split Win for Boston Bombings Coverage

Leading most of the day, FNC yielded the key demo win to CNN in primetime

Viewers looking for information on Monday’s bombings at the finish line of the Boston marathon gave cable news networks a lift.

Fox News Channel took an early lead just as the news of the explosions was breaking at 3 p.m. ET. With Shepard Smith anchoring the hour, FNC attracted 1.96 million total viewers versus CNN’s 970,000 and MSNBC’s 435,000 viewers.

FNC also took the win for the 25-54 news demo in the first hour of coverage with 542,000 viewers in the demo against CNN’s 349,000 and MSNBC’s 129,000 viewers.

Keeping its lead through the day, FNC won for total viewers during primetime (8-11 p.m.) with 3.92 million total viewers against CNN’s 2.75 million and MSNBC’s 1.25 million viewers.

But during primetime FNC lost its lead in the demo. CNN narrowly took the No. 1 spot with 1.32 million viewers in the 25-54 over FNC’s 1.2 million. MSNBC trailed with only 461,000 viewers in the key demo.

It was an especially good showing for CNN’s “Piers Morgan Live” as it nabbed 1.31 million viewers in its 9 p.m. slot, its biggest number in the key demo since the show’s launch.

Take a look at the breakdown below.

3:07 p.m. ET (when the news broke)
FNC: 1,961,000 total viewers (542,000 in 25-54)
CNN: 970,000 total viewers (349,000 in 25-54)
MSNBC: 435,000 total viewers (129,000 in 25-54)

4 p.m. ET (first full hour following when the news broke)
FNC: 3,072,000 total viewers (874,000 in 25-54)
CNN: 2,446,000 total viewers (868,000 in 25-54)
MSNBC: 708,000 total viewers (217,000 in 25-54)

Primetime 8-11 p.m.
FNC: 3,915,000 total viewers (1,199,000 in 25-54)
CNN: 2,749,000 total viewers (1,319,000 in 25-54)
MSNBC: 1,245,000 total viewers (461,000 in 25-54)

Note: CNN and MSNBC's total viewer numbers in the 3 p.m. hour have been corrected.