CNN‘s Anderson Cooper beat Fox News Channel‘s Bill O’Reilly at 8 PM in the news demo ratings on three consecutive nights by focusing on the story of the missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370. Cooper clocked 410,000 demo viewers Friday to O’Reilly’s 365,000. Cooper also had the news demo lead Wednesday and Thursday nights with wall-to-wall coverage of the missing airplane. Cooper’s lead-in, Erin Burnett (303,000), outstripped Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren (264,000) in the news demo Friday — marking the first time Burnett has finished first in the demo in the slot on two consecutive nights.
On Friday’s telecast, O’Reilly took a jab at “another” cable network that had devoted an entire hour the previous night to nothing but “speculation” about the missing flight. O’Reilly’s show started with a Shepard Smith update on the latest info about the still-missing plane, after which O’Reilly told viewers, “As you guys may know, we don’t do much speculation here on The Factor. But other news agencies do — guessing about what may have happened. Wasting your time. Last night, an hour — one hour — on another network of nothing. It was amazing. So tonight, we’re going to stick with the facts.” After which he and a former former Federal Aviation Administration specialist spent several minutes chatting about how nothing is known for sure about the fate of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.
Immediately following The O’Reilly Factor, FNC’s The Kelly File and Hannity spent much of their time focused on the missing plane. Both shows beat their CNN competition in the news demo. Sean Hannity scored the day’s biggest demo audience — 413,000 — edging out a live AC360 at 10 (and also Cooper’s 8 pm 410,000). FNC won primetime in the news demo with 381,000 demo viewers to 325,000 demo viewers.