Comey Chaos Pays Off: CNN’s Primetime Ratings Up 53 Percent Last Week

TV Ratings: Fox News, MSNBC and CNN thrive with nonstop headlines coming from Trump administration

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Fox News, MSNBC and CNN all finished among the most-watched networks among all of basic cable for the week of May 8-14 during a news cycle packed with drama, including the sudden firing of now-former FBI Director James Comey.

CNN’s prime-time ratings rose 53 percent to nearly 1.2 million viewers on average over the previous week, while MSNBC grew nearly 28 percent to 1.8 million. Fox News was the only basic cable network to surpass the two million-viewer plateau — climbing 10.6 percent to win the week with an average of 2.3 million viewers between 8-11 p.m.

The NBA Playoffs-heavy TNT edged MSNBC for the second spot with 1.9 million viewers. MSNBC’s primetime lineup averaged 1.8 million viewers while CNN averaged 1.2 million to finish eighth. ESPN and TBS joined FNC, TNT and MSNBC among the top five.

Fox News Channel also marked 19 consecutive weeks atop total day viewership, averaging 1.4 million viewers. Nickelodeon finished second, averaging 1.1 million and MSNBC finished third, averaging one million viewers. CNN finished fourth; averaging 841,000 and HGTV averaged 779,000 to round out the top five.

The week was loaded with political news, with Tuesday’s sudden firing of Comey dominating coverage.  The week also featured President Trump threatening Comey on Twitter, Sean Spicer missing press briefings, Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders emerging as a household name and even a now-infamous eye roll by CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

Fox News continues to dominate total viewers despite losing its biggest star, Bill O’Reilly, just last month. The network could soon face another primetime shakeup, as “The Five” co-host Kimberly Guilfoyle told the Bay Area News Group that she is in conversations with the Trump administration about potentially joining the communications team.

MSNBC was the most-watched cable news network in weekday prime time among the key demo of adults age 25-54 for the first time since 2009, according to TVNewser. However, MSNBC might see a shakeup of its own, as Lawrence O’Donnell’s fate is uncertain when his current contract expires in four weeks.