Russia’s invasion of Ukraine boosts news network audience

This image from video shows NBC <a class=News correspondent Richard Engel reporting from Ukraine on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022. (NBC News via AP)” title=”This image from video shows NBC News correspondent Richard Engel reporting from Ukraine on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022. (NBC News via AP)” loading=”lazy”/>

This image from video shows NBC News correspondent Richard Engel reporting from Ukraine on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022. (NBC News via AP)

PA

Cable viewership surged during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with Fox News Channel leading the way and CNN posting the most dramatic increases.

CNN, Fox and MSNBC averaged 6.4 million prime-time viewers between the start of the war last Wednesday and Sunday evening. That’s up from their January average of 4 million, the Nielsen company said.

For all day between Wednesday and Sunday, Fox averaged 2.32 million viewers, up 64% from a quieter January. CNN’s audience grew from 633,000 in January to 1.75 million last week, up 178%. MSNBC had 980,000 for its wartime coverage, up 51% from January.

These numbers correspond to a trend: CNN tends to have the most dramatic increases during major news events, while its rivals, more focused on political discussions, are more stable in quiet periods.

In entertainment, the venerable “Law & Order” series returned last week, with 5.8 million people watching the start of its revival last Thursday. That, along with the “Chicago Fire” and its spinoffs, gave prolific producer Dick Wolf four Nielsen top 12 series.

CBS won the week in prime time, averaging 4.5 million viewers. ABC had 3.5 million, NBC had 3.4 million, Fox had 2 million, Univision had 1.7 million, Ion Television had 1.1 million, and Telemundo had 1 million.

Fox News Channel topped the cable networks with an average of 3.17 million prime-time viewers. CNN had 1.5 million, MSNBC had 1.39 million, ESPN had 1.15 million, and HGTV had 1.1 million.

ABC’s “World News Tonight” won the evening news ratings race with an average of 9 million viewers last week. NBC’s “Nightly News” had 7.6 million and the “CBS Evening News” had 5.3 million.

For the week of February 21-27, the top 20 primetime shows, their networks, and their audiences:

1. “60 Minutes,” CBS, 8.36 million.

2. “FBI”, CBS, 7.33 million.

3. “The Equalizer”, CBS, 7.18 million.

4. “Chicago Med,” NBC, 7.13 million.

5. “Young Sheldon”, CBS, 6.95 million.

6. “Chicago Fire”, NBC, 6.83 million.

7. “American Idol”, ABC, 6.3 million.

8. “Blue Bloods”, CBS, 6.25 million.

9. “FBI: International,” CBS, 6.13 million.

10. “Chicago PD”, NBC, 6.01 million.

11. “Ghosts”, CBS, 5.85 million.

12. “Law & Order”, NBC, 5.8 million.

13. “Hazard! College Championship,” ABC, 5.72 million.

14. “FBI: Most Wanted”, CBS, 5.7 million.

15. “NBC New Special Report: Russia/Ukraine Crisis,” NBC, 5.34 million.

16. “NCIS: Los Angeles,” CBS, 5.23 million.

17. “Magnum PI”, CBS, 5.21 million.

18. “Law & Order: SVU,” NBC, 5.15 million.

19. “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” ABC, 5.14 million.

20. “911: Lone Star,” Fox, 5.13 million.

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