Opinion: Sarah Palin proves a big draw on Fox


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The Sarah Palin phenomenon and the lift it gave the Republican presidential ticket may have cooled somewhat, in part because it was bound to and in part because the nation’s financial crisis seems to have refocused the attention of many voters.

Still, Palin is made for TV -- as well as trained in it. Combine those attributes with an appearance on a network whose viewers include many in sync with her politics -- Fox News Channel -- and you’ve got a match made in Nielsen ratings heaven.


Wednesday night’s Hannity & Colmes program featuring the first of two interview segments with Palin gave the show its second-highest total viewership for 2008 (and its third highest for the oh-so-important 25-to-54-year-old demographic).

An estimated 4.921 million folks tuned in on Wednesday to hear Palin reveal to Sean Hannity that she had watched -- but with the sound turned off -- Tina Fey’s much-anticipated inaugural impersonation of her on ‘Saturday Night Live.’ (The Republican vice presidential nominee also discussed an array of other topics.)

The only higher viewership this year for Hannity & Colmes -- 4.948 million -- was on Sept. 3. And what was happening that night? The nation was awaiting Palin’s speech to the Republican National Convention.

(In another sign of the interest in the presidential campaign, the conventions for both parties attracted almost two-thirds of all U.S. households, as detailed by our friend Mark Silva at the Swamp.)

Courtesy of a very proud Fox PR department, here’s how the competition among the three main cable news networks played out in the 9-10 p.m. EDT time slot Wednesday:

FNC’s Hannity & Colmes: 4,921,000 viewers (1,391,000 in the 25-54 demo).

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow: 1,716,000 viewers (635,000 in the 25-54).

CNN’s Larry King: 1,646,000 viewers (630,000 in the 25-54).

-- Don Frederick