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Royal baby coverage doesn't deliver a big boost to cable news ratings

Forget the baby bump.

Cable news channels aired wall-to-wall coverage of the birth of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's to-be-named first child, but the networks didn't see nearly the same ratings boost as they generated from the last royal media craze.

Tuesday's total-day viewership for CNN was down 42% compared with the day of Prince William's and Kate Middleton's marriage in 2011. MSNBC viewership was 16% lower than the wedding day.

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The exception to the trend was Fox News Channel, the highest-rated cable news network, which saw a 6% jump compared with coverage of the nuptials.

Fox News Channel drew an average 1.27 million viewers Tuesday, about 3% higher than year-to-date averages.

MSNBC, which clocked in with an average 527,000 total viewers, actually saw a 6% drop in all-day viewership compared with its typical numbers. 

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CNN's coverage boosted viewership 14% for the day, helped by a rush of interest in the early morning when word spread that Middleton was in labor.

But royal baby fever cooled and primetime ratings tapered off later in the day. During the 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. slot, CNN drew 5% more viewers than its average for the year. Primetime viewership for Fox was down 8% compared with the rest of the year. 

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Follow on Twitter: @rfaughnder

ryan.faughnder@latimes.com

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