The premiere of CNN Films: Blackfish was No. 1 among cable news networks in the news demo from 9-11 PM last night, averaging 472,000 in the news demo. Fox News Channel followed with 331,000 in the demo, and MSNBC registered 235,000. It’s CNN’s highest-ranking film this year. The film, exploring the consequences of keeping orcas in captivity at marine theme parks for the entertainment of humans. The Gabriela Cowperthwaite movie is pegged to the 2010 death of SeaWorld Orlando trainer Dawn Brancheau, who was killed by a 6-ton whale that had been linked to other deaths.
CNN actually did better with 18- to 49-year-olds, averaging 688,000 viewers. FNC logged 216,000 viewers in the age bracket in that block of time, and MSNBC logged 173,000. CNN drew 471,000 viewers ages 18-34, more than eight times the combined competition of FNC (31,000) and MSNBC (25,000). Following the movie, Inside Blackfish, an Anderson Cooper-anchored special at 11 PM, topped MSNBC in both the key demo 25-54 (231,000 vs. 74,000) and in total viewers (560k vs. 361k). FNC averaged 334k/1.2m during this time period.