Boston manhunt gives CNN highest-rated day since Iraq War

Massachusetts State Police Col. Timothy Alben, at microphones, accompanied by Gov. Deval Patrick (in sport coat) and other officials, met with the news media as Friday's manhunt dragged on in Boston.
(Matt Rourke / Associated Press)

CNN has always thrived during high-interest breaking-news stories. Friday’s conclusion of the Boston bombing manhunt was no exception.

The cable news network scored its best overall day across all TV-rating categories since the Iraq War 10 years ago. Among total viewers, it was CNN’s top performance since election day 2012, according to Nielsen.

In prime time - with viewers seeking news of the dramatic capture of the second suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing - CNN scored a rare victory over Fox News, with 2.5 million viewers vs. Fox’s 1.9 million.


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CNN’s digital traffic also surged. The network’s website logged 173 million page views - its third-highest day on record, after election days in 2008 and 2012.

For CNN, the numbers provided a bittersweet validation after the network was excoriated for falsely reporting earlier in the week that authorities had a suspect in custody.

The big question now is whether CNN -- under new management and desperate to boost its generally lagging ratings -- can find more viewers during periods when there isn’t a breaking crisis.

Stay tuned.


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