David Zurawik

Viewers tune out MSNBC, tune in Fox and CNN on Ferguson

Fox and CNN were the channels most Americans turned to Monday night for coverage of Ferguson.

But the most striking story of the ratings was how few viewers went to MSNBC, where show host Al Sharpton has involved himself in the story as an activist.


Fox had the largest audience through the evening, but CNN drew the best demographics.

At 9 p.m. when the verdict was announced, Fox had 7.26 million viewers overall, while CNN had 6.26 million. MSNBC, which had Rachel Maddow as host at the time, had 2.2. million viewers.


But CNN drew 3.16 million viewers 25 to 54 years of age, while Fox had 2.19 million. MSNBC had 742,000 viewers in the age group.

For all of prime time (8 to 11 p.m.), Fox had 5.56 million viewers, while CNN had 5.08 million viewers.

MSNBC, meanwhile, had only 1.6 million. That defines also-ran status for the highly politicized channel.

In the 25 to 54 year old age group, for all of prime time, CNN led with 2.6 million, followed by Fox 1.7 million. MSNBC had 544,000 viewers in the age group.