Fox News Channel’s coverage of the bombing at the Boston Marathon last week propelled the network to the top of the cable rankings for the first time in nearly a decade. In both total day and primetime for the week of April 15-April 21, the News Corp-owned news network pulled ahead of usually top-ranked USA Network. Excluding election coverage last year, the last time Fox News was in the top position was August 2005, when Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast. In primetime, FNC garnered 2.874 million viewers on average for the week compared with No. 2 USA’s 2.621 million. CNN also climbed the cable ladder to finish No. 3 with 1.985 million viewers overall on average. History Channel was in fourth with 1.937 million viewers and A&E was fifth with 1.928 million.
With heavy use of its Boston affilate as well as a strong network presence on the ground with anchor Shep Smith, Bill Hemmer and others, Fox News brought in 1.772 million on average in total day with its wall-to-wall reporting from and about bombings and subsequent manhunt. That was ahead of second place Nickelodeon’s 1.644 million and CNN’s 1.329 million viewers over the frame. Adult Swim was fourth for total day with 1.248 million, and USA was fifth with 1.232 million. Rival cable news network MSNBC was 19th in the cable primetime rankings with 923,000 viewers on average for the week and 16th in the total-day ranking with 578,000.