Fox News Channel finished in first place in April’s cable news ratings, but 2013 still looks a lot better to CNN than April 2012. A year ago, CNN was in third place with its lowest-rated month in total day in more than a decade and its worst primetime in almost two years. This month, fueled by extended coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings and the Texas fertilizer warehouse explosion, CNN saw double-digit viewership growth and triple-digit upward turns in the key adults 25-54 demographic. As a result, the Jeff Zucker-run network moved up to second place ahead of MSNBC in viewership and the demo for the first time in a year, posting its best results since the November 2012 elections. CNN’s sister network HLN actually slipped ahead of MSNBC in the demo too for Total Day with 142,000 viewers. Here’s the big three rankings:

TOTAL DAY — APRIL 2013 VS. APRIL 2012
FNC: 1,233M total viewers – Up 14% (278,000 in 25-54 – Up 2%)
CNN: 638,000 total viewers – Up 79% (228,000 in 25-54 – Up 111%)
MSNBC: 406,000 total viewers – Down 4% (139,000 in 25-54 – Up 1%)

PRIMETIME — APRIL 2013 VS. APRIL 2012
FNC: 2.016M total viewers – Up 9% (389,000 in 25-54 – Down 2%)
CNN: 918,000 total viewers – Up 81% (338,000 in 25-54 – Up 127%)
MSNBC: 682,000 total viewers – Down 10% (234,000 in 25-54 – Down 1%)

Having beat usual top dog USA Network and top all of cable for the week of April 15-21, Fox News finished second in primetime for the month. The News Corp-owned network last reached that spot in March 2011 during the Japan earthquake and tsunami. CNN was No. 17 in the total cable ranking, with MSNBC No. 27. (more…)