HLN Beat CNN in Total Viewers for Total Day and Primetime Last Week

Categories: Cable News Ratings

Written By

March 6th, 2013

HLN Logo

HLN, typically the lowest rated cable news network, beat its sibling channel CNN last week in Total Viewers during both primetime and Total Day. The last time that HLN beat CNN was during July 2011, during the Casey Anthony trial, which was covered extensively by HLN personality Nancy Grace.

HLN ranked 34th in primetime (.509 million)  and 31st in Total Day (.371 million) while CNN ranked 36th in primetime (.488 million) and 33rd in Total Day (.369 million).

FNC continued its reign as the top cable news channel, ranking number three among ad supported cable channels during primetime (1.917 million) and number five in total day (1.159 million) among Total Viewers. MSNBC ranked 23rd in primetime (.742 million) and 26th in total day (.423 million).

Note: These rankings only include ad supported cable channels, thus excluding The Disney Channel and other non ad supported channels which are included in the weekly cable rankers.


  • Mark2

    HLN is part of CNN

  • RJ

    HLN, the step-child of CNN, outrates its parent network. Gotta love it.

  • b

    Released today:

    Ratings: Fox News Crushes Competition; HLN Beats CNN

    I rest my case.

  • Bob

    lol….CNN Sucks….too liberal a channel.

  • Doug

    Actually, Fox Business has been the lowest rated cable news network every year since its inception over 5 years ago. Actually, Fox Business has been the lowest rated cable news network every year since its inception over 5 years ago.

  • Canadian

    CNN too liberal? Wow.

    This is the problem with right wing propaganda channels like FOX News existing, the idiots who watch them think all the real news organizations are biased.

    If CNN was really a liberal channel, they wouldn’t be in last place behind HLN and MSNBC, they would be in second place behind FOX News. The reason why CNN is last place is because you Americans don’t want real news, you want someone who shares the same views as you telling you what you want to hear, That’s why FOX News and MSNBC do better, unfortunately one sided biased news works best in America.

    Here in Canada, we don’t have this problem. CNN beats the crap out of MSNBC and FOX News, and locally, we only have one biased news channel (the right wing SUN News Network) and it’s a financial and ratings disaster losing millions each year.

    I know all Americans don’t want biased news, and I have nothing against Americans, but as a journalist it is really sad to see one sided opinion channels outperforming respectable news organizations. It’s sad to see MSNBC rise to #2 not because they did a better job at covering news but because they changed their focus to be the liberal version of FOX News. You guys are smarter than this.

  • Joseph

    Two words for HLN’s recent success:

    Oscar Pistorious.

    Yes, the disgraced Olympic runner and murder suspect was the likely reason for HLN’s spike in viewing the past few weeks.

  • JSunkist

    Off topic, but I can’t help but feel that every time I see HLN’s logo, I feel like I’m about to watch some TV-shopping channel…

    I was oblivious to the fact that HLN was once CNN Headline News, just didn’t click

  • Morgan Wick

    @Canadian: It’s because of America’s unique cultural diversity, coupled with a political system seemingly designed to produce only two parties and the fact that Americans aren’t really that interested in news in general so long as it isn’t entertaining (see the fact that O’Reilly is the only show on cable news to crack the daily cable ratings posts and always at the very bottom when it shows up at all). You could go to the American South and then one of America’s more liberal cities like Seattle, San Francisco, or Boston and be amazed the two were part of the same country. I’d bet in some countries the news isn’t that different from Fox or MSNBC, it’s just that the other one and CNN don’t exist. Besides, as Stephen Colbert once famously said, “reality has a known liberal bias”.

    Worth noting that the network news shows receive several times the viewership and demo numbers of anything on cable news, even O’Reilly. But liberals and conservatives (especially the latter) still loudly engage in their pissing match over Fox and MSNBC. It’s really a sign of how much the hardcores on both sides have come to dominate the political discourse in this country.

    Really the problem is with CNN itself; people don’t really want the sort of straight interview show that Larry King used to do and Piers Morgan does now anymore, and let’s face it, Anderson Cooper is just Keith Olbermann without the entertainment value. The rest of CNN’s shows are boring as well. Histrionic, highly opinionated, entertaining personalities are the bedrock of Fox and MSNBC’s success, and CNN has never quite got the hang of that; even when they pit liberals and conservatives against one another they rein them in too much and the result is the sort of artificial debate that punctuates the Sunday morning shows. I always thought it was a mistake for them to listen to Jon Stewart and cancel Crossfire; in a perfect political environment he’d have been right, but now it’s the sort of show CNN desperately needs yet has always had trouble with.

    I’ve long said that CNN needs to be bipartisan, not nonpartisan. I want Olbermann and Glenn Beck on the same network, if not the same show. Worth noting that Pardon the Interruption routinely gets better numbers in key demos than every single show on cable news; I’d bet a political version of it (not that genteel Parker Spitzer crap or the show Al Franken used to call “Hannity and Colmes”) would become at least the second-highest-rated non-Fox show on cable news just by bringing in an audience outside the typical cable news audience. The problem is that the few liberals and conservatives likely to have that sort of Tony-and-Mike-esque chemistry, like James Carville and Mary Matalin, are likely to end up being just as genteel as Parker and Spitzer were.

    @Joseph: Actually, TVNewser says it’s because of the trial of some girl named Jodi Arias.

  • AppleStinx

    HLN is occasionally beating MSNBC in ‘Total Day’ too, as they hop from one “crime/trial of the century” to the next.

  • Hillbilly

    Worth noting that Pardon the Interruption routinely gets better numbers in key demos than every single show on cable news;

    Worth noting they compete for different demos. PTI the 18-49, Cable News 25-54.

  • bob

    “Nancy Grace” (except for 2012) pretty much always beat CNN at 8PM in total viewers and the demo and sometimes MSNBC.

  • WhoPushedTheVideo


    sun news is the only place on canadian tv that has/promotes any kind of debate dumb dumb unlike the state sponsored channels.

    Back on topic, cnn just doesnt have any tv personnalities worth watching. That is all

  • Morgan Wick

    @Hillbilly The daily ratings posts include the top 100 in 25-54, even though those aren’t the numbers listed. PTI regularly appears, O’Reilly irregularly so.

  • marvin

    Obvious explanation — salacious, tabloid quality murder trial (Jodi Arias). Kinda like Casey Anthony lite. Such trials are “breaking news” (continuously until verdict) for HLN. Give them that, and they’ll beat CNN any time (unless there’s some serious “breaking news” — CNN’s bread and butter.

  • Hillbilly

    Morgan Wick
    Posted March 6, 2013 at 12:58 PM

    @Hillbilly The daily ratings posts include the top 100 in 25-54, even though those aren’t the numbers listed. PTI regularly appears, O’Reilly irregularly so.


    Go look again my friend. The daily top 100 has total viewers & 18-49 demo.

    WWE Raw was Monday’s top cable program with a 1.9 adults 18-49, up from last week rating from last week’s 1.8. Teen Mom II came in second with a 1.5 adults 18-49 rating, down from last week’s 1.7 .

    No mention of the 25-54 demo.

  • Andies

    Only because of the Jodi Arias case.. Once that is done. HLN will go back down..

  • Hillbilly

    @Morgan Wick

    Don’t know if you visit the cable news comment section. Mark2 is always comparing the Daily Show to Bill O. It has been pointed out to him repeatedly they compete for different demos. It’s not news when the Daily Show makes the list. It is news/worth pointing out when any cable news show makes the list because the list is ranked on the 18-49 demo.

  • Morgan Wick

    @Hillbilly, go look again my friend:
    We only receive the top 100 cable shows for adults 25-54 for the whole day from our primary source, if you don’t see your show it was not in that top 100 list.
    I’ve suggested in the past that that disclaimer be reworded to emphasize that 25-54 =/= the 18-49 numbers used everywhere else in the post, especially since that’s been the main source of confusion when I’ve looked in the comments sections, but I don’t think I’ve even been correctly interpreted by the powers that be.

    In any case, the fact that news shows are competing for an older audience, even for what they consider “younger viewers”, than most of the rest of television might be telling in and of itself – and the fact that PTI and the Daily Show STILL beat them (except possibly for the network news shows) in that same audience (TDS may skew really young, but I do think it still regularly appears on the daily ratings posts) is really telling.

  • Ralph Hahn

    @Andies: To add to your spot-on post:

    From HLN: “HLN is covering the Jodi Arias trial live gavel-to-gavel as it comes to its dramatic conclusion. Arias is accused of shooting her ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander in the head, stabbing him multiple times, and slitting his throat from ear-to-ear in 2008. Arias says she killed him in self-defense. If convicted of first-degree murder, she could face the death penalty.”

    Yeah, I can understand why HLN is kicking a*s this week.

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