TV Column: CNN wins Inauguration Day ratings

January 22, 2013

CNN celebrated a ratings victory among cable news networks for coverage of Monday’s inaugural festivities.

More than 3 million people tuned to CNN when President Obama took the oath of office and delivered his address to the nation. An additional 2.3 million watched on MSNBC, and 1.3 million caught the occasion on Fox News Channel, which is typically the cable news front-runner.

CNN was also the ratings Cinderella at the inaugural balls, which occurred in prime time. From 8 to 11 p.m., CNN attracted about 3.6 million viewers, while FNC had to settle for second at 1.7 million — which at least was better than MSNBC’s 1.4 million.

But this CNN fairy tale has a dark side. Four years ago, CNN’s coverage of Obama’s oath-taking and speechifying clocked more than 8 million viewers; FNC scored 5.3 million and MSNBC 3 million.

Walters still hospitalized

Barbara Walters is being kept in the hospital by doctors because of a “low-grade fever” — this after cracking her head on the steps of the British Embassy in Washington, Whoopi Goldberg told “The View” audience Tuesday.


The pilot of Kevin Bacon’s Fox drama “The Following” was watched by 10.4 million — a slightly larger audience than last season’s Monday debuts. (Fox)

“She missed a step and had a fall, which cut her upper temple,” Goldberg said at the beginning of the show.

Walters created the live, much-copied weekday talk show in 1997.

She took the spill three days earlier, while in town to contribute to ABC’s coverage of the Obama inauguration.

Over the weekend, ABC News spokesman Jeffrey Schneider told The Post’s Dana Hedgpeth that Walters “banged her head hard” when she tripped on a step while leaving an inaugural party.

Goldberg read a statement from Walters, 83, who has been hospitalized ever since:

“I’m running a low-grade fever and the doctors are keeping me in the hospital until my temperature is normal. I’m pleased to say that it is going in the right direction and I will be home soon.”

“Barbara — we miss you and lay off the Grey Goose, okay, babe?” “The View” co-host Joy Behar cracked.

‘Following’ the ratings

About 10.4 million people caught Fox’s Monday unveiling of its highly hyped serial-killer drama, “The Following.”

Fox notes that this is a bigger crowd than it scored with either of its Monday drama debuts last season: “Alcatraz” (10.1 million viewers) and “Terra Nova” (9.2 million).

That, you could argue, is damning with faint praise, given that Fox canceled both of those shows at the end of their first season.

Besides, “The Following” did not do as well as “Alcatraz” among the 18-to-49-year-olds who are the currency of ad sales. In that age bracket, “The Following” attracted 3.2 percent of the available audience, and “Alcatraz” 3.3 percent.

On the bright side, “The Following” did a whole lot better than its time-slot predecessor this season: “Mob Doctor” had been DOA, opening with an anemic 1.5 percent of the country’s 18-to-49-year-old audience and 5.1 million viewers overall.

“The Following” is this TV season’s most expensive prime-time series, costing advertisers about $200,000 for a 30-second spot, according to Ad Age.

“The Following” stars Kevin Bacon as a former FBI agent who is dragged back to help wrangle a college lit professor turned serial killer who has been building a cult of copycat serial killers.

Besides being Fox’s highest-profile freshman drama this season, it’s also enjoying a lot of media attention, what with it being in the right/wrong place at the right/wrong time, becoming a talking point in the current debate about Hollywood’s role in recent real-life mass killings.

For all that, “The Following” wound up edging out “Elementary” — CBS’s Sherlock Holmes reimagining — as the season’s second-highest-rated drama debut among 18-to-49-year-old viewers (“Elementary” opened with a 3.1 rating).

That, you could argue, also is damning with faint praise, given that CBS is . . . well, CBS.

Anyway, still ranking as the TV season’s No. 1 drama in that key age bracket: “Revolution.”

Congrats, NBC.

And we feel compelled to note that in its launch, “The Following” did finish No. 2 in the golden age bracket — behind the CBS comedies “2 Broke Girls” and “Mike & Molly.” That’s gotta hurt.

The majority of “The Following’s” audience — about 5.8 million of them — was 50 and older, according to Nielsen.

Perhaps anticipating the preliminary perfectly-okay-but-not-eye-popping stats, Fox on Monday had touted — to New York Magazine’s Vulture Web site — its “set your DVR now” mention in “The Following’s” launch campaign.

To read Lisa de Moraes’s previous columns, go to washingtonpost.com/tvblog.

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