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Weekend Ratings: Weather Channel, Cable News See Massive Ratings Bumps as Irene Made Landfall

Saturday and Sunday saw the cable news channels go almost wall-to-wall with coverage of Hurricane Irene. With the weather being the focus, it is hardly surprising that Weather Channel was the top cable news channel Saturday in both total viewers and adults 25-54.

That story changed slightly on Sunday, once it became clear that Irene would not be bringing the devastation to New York City. The cable news channels returned to regular programming, FNC ended up taking the crown in total viewers, while Weather still won the key demo.

  • Here are the numbers for Total Day viewing on Saturday (6am-2am)
Network Total Viewers A25-54
Weather Channel 2.77M 1.16M
Fox News 1.70M 530K
CNN 1.66M 632K
MSNBC 624K 220K

  • Here are the numbers for Primetime Saturday (8pm-11pm)

Network Total Viewers A25-54
Weather Channel 2.78M 1.17M
CNN 1.87M 718K
Fox News 1.62M 466K
MSNBC 692K 266K


On Saturday, Weather saw its highest-rated hours at 11 AM and 12 PM—right when Irene first made landfall in North Carolina. Weather averaged 3.89 million total and 1.58 million demo viewers at 11, and 3.56 million total and 1.33 million demo viewers at 12.

CNN peaked at 5 PM, averaging 2.12 million total viewers and 783,000 demo viewers. FNC also peaked at 5, averaging 2.18 million total viewers and 725,000 demo viewers. MSNBC peaked at 7 PM, averaging 947,000 total viewers and 378,000 demo viewers.

On Sunday, the highest ratings were in the morning as the eye of Irene passed over New York City.

  • Here are the numbers for Sunday morning (7am-NoonET)
Network Total Viewers A25-54
Weather Channel 2.49M 968K
Fox News 1.93M 627K
CNN 1.62M 683K
MSNBC 637K 2221K

  • Here are the numbers for Total Day viewing on Sunday (6am-2am)
Network Total Viewers A25-54
Fox News 1.43M 399K
Weather Channel 1.40M 532K
CNN 1.28M 475K
MSNBC 477K 192K

Weather peaked at 8 AM, averaging 2.81 million total and 1.12 million demo viewers. FNC peaked at 9 AM, drawing 2.64 million total and 896,000 demo viewers. CNN also peaked at 9 AM, drawing 1.86 million total and 871,000 million demo viewers. MSNBC also had its best hour at 9 AM, drawing 746,000 total viewers and 282,000 demo viewers.

As the evening went on and regular programming began to return, FNC took over the top slot in total viewers, though it lagged behind Weather–and in some hours CNN—in the demo.

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