Since the beginning of the protests over Iran's presidential election began on June 13, Americans have tuned in in large numbers to Fox News for coverage of the situation.
From June 13 through June 21, Fox News led among cable news outlets in Monday-Sunday total viewership, averaging 1.042 million total viewers (a 34% increase over last year). CNN took 2nd over the same period, averaging 546,000 total viewers (a 6% increase over last year). MSNBC, which has been criticized for running its regular weekend programming instead of covering the crisis, averaged 350,000 total viewers (down 8%).
Fox News also won the Adults 25-54 demographic with an average of 275,000 A25-54 viewers, up 40% from last year. CNN averaged 152,000 A25-54 (down 4%) and MSNBC averaged 135,000 A25-54 viewers (up 1%). Over the same week-long span, Fox News also led in primetime with an average of 1.852 million total viewers, an increase of 36% over last year. MSNBC placed second with an average of 665,000 total viewers, up 3% from last year, while CNN averaged 638,000 total viewers, down 20%.
In the Monday-Sunday prime demo, Fox News also prevailed (443,000, up 47%), while MSNBC took 2nd (248,000, up 9%) and CNN came in 3rd (174,000, down 27%).
These numbers may be surprising insofar as CNN has generally performed well during big, breaking news stories like the situation in Iran.
However, the week was not a total disappointment for CNN, which had the most year-to-date growth on Saturday, and saw the highest viewership spikes over the most hours on the same day (10 in total). CNN finished in 2nd on Saturday, averaging 682,000 total viewers to Fox News' 900,000, and was competitive with Fox News in the A25-54 demographic (195,000 to 214,000).
Also on Saturday, Fox News' Shepard Smith anchored a special report from 7-9PM which averaged 1,479,000 total viewers. Smith's 8-9PM block was the highest-rated hour on cable news for the entire weekend.