CNN comes out super in cable ratings race

Times Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- CNN's efforts to position itself as the destination for political news paid off on Super Tuesday when the network drew an average of more than 3.6 million viewers in prime time, beating out its cable news competition.

It was the latest in a series of campaign-related wins for CNN, which also pulled in record-setting audiences for its recent presidential primary debates.

On Tuesday, the cable news network pulled ahead of top-rated Fox News, which drew nearly 3.5 million viewers for its coverage from 8 to 11 p.m. Eastern time. MSNBC placed third with 2.1 million. In the key 25- to 54-year-old demographic, CNN won the night with 1.5 million viewers, followed by Fox News with 1.09 million and MSNBC with 1.03 million.

More people tuned in to watch Super Tuesday coverage on the broadcast networks, but those audiences were paltry compared with that of "American Idol," "The Biggest Loser" and other network entertainment fare.

NBC, which offered the shortest Super Tuesday special, won the 10 p.m. hour with nearly 5.6 million viewers. ABC, which devoted five hours to the results, had an average of almost 5.4 million viewers for its 10 p.m. hour. CBS pulled in just under 4.5 million viewers in that time period.

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matea.gold@latimes.com

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