Conventional wisdom would suggest that cable news ratings were ripe for a precipitous fall once the cuticle-gnawing tension of the election finally abated on Nov. 4 at around 11 p.m. EST.
And yet, in the first full week after voters selected Barack Obama as the 44th president of the United States, Fox News Channel still delivered much larger nightly audiences than usual.
Driven largely by its 8 p.m. program The O'Reilly Factor, Fox News retained the greatest share among the three cable news nets in the week ended Nov. 16, averaging 2.49 million total viewers in prime, a drop of 30 percent versus the prior week's 3.54 million viewers. More tellingly, Fox News delivered a nightly audience that was 40 percent larger than what it managed in the year-ago period (1.49 million viewers).
FNC also averaged 580,000 viewers in its core demo, marking a 68 percent increase in delivery of adults 25-54 versus the week ended Nov. 18, 2007.
All told, FNC last week finished third among ad-supported cable nets, trailing only ESPN (3.43 million viewers) and USA Network (2.61 million).