Primetime Viewers Vote Fox News; CNN Tops the Early, Late Returns

66.8 Million Viewers Watch 2012 Election Coverage

Viewers voted for CNN over all cable networks throughout the evening and early-morning hours of last Tuesday’s presidential election night, but Fox News Channel was the choice among viewers during primetime hours, according to Nielsen.

Overall, about 66.8 million viewers tuned into live TV news coverage of the Nov. 6 election results from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. (ET), a decrease of 6% from the 2008 presidential election, which drew 71.5 million viewers, according to Nielsen.

This year’s figure includes audiences on 13 networks — ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, PBS, Univision, Telemundo, CNBC, CNN,FoxNews, MSNBC, Current TV and TV One.

On the cable front, CNN averaged 8.8 million total viewers from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. (ET) while Fox News was close behind with 8.7 million viewers from when the polls first closed through the speeches by GOP candidate Mitt Romney and President Obama. For Fox, that post-11 p.m. period included anchor Megyn Kelly’s memorable march from the studio to the network’s decision desk, after contributor Karl Rove objected to the network’s call (like many other networks) of Ohio for Obama.

From 8 to 11 p.m., Fox News was tops, drawing a network record 11.4 million viewers — an increase of 13% over its coverage of election night 2008.

CNN pulled 9.2 million viewers — down 21% from 2008 — and MSNBC drew 4.6 million, a loss of 25% of its viewership from four years ago.

Broadcast network NBC drew the lion’s share of viewers during its primetime election coverage with 12 million watchers.

CNN was the preferred network in primetime among adults 25-54, averaging 4.5 million viewers compared to Fox’s 4.4 million watchers. It also was tops among African-American viewers on election night, generating 2.2 million viewers compared to MSNBC’s 1.2 million and Fox’s 748,000 watchers.

Hispanic viewers pulled the viewership lever for Univision, which averaged 2.9 million viewers. CNN was tops among cable networks for Hispanics, drawing 905,000 viewers, according to Nielsen.

Comcast Hears It Over Street Boxes In Georgetown

Comcast has found itself in the middle of an architectural flap after installing moss-green, refrigerator-sized utility boxes on the streets of Washington’s toney Georgetown section without running the architecturally correct gauntlet.

The Georgetown Current reported last week that Comcast had installed the boxes without first getting the required review and permission from the U.S. Commission on Fine Arts and the Old Georgetown board, and that there had been complaints about the boxes at a recent meeting of Georgetown’s neighborhood commission.

A Comcast spokesperson said the company got a permit from the city to install the boxes — which Comcast said are needed to make network enhancements in the area — but was unaware of the architectural review process.

“Comcast followed its customary process and protocol to secure permits through DDOT — which we received for our work in Georgetown,” the company said in a statement. “We were not aware of additional requirements.”

Comcast is willing to work with the community, though, and held a “productive meeting” with interested parties on Election Day “to better understand their concerns so we can work to address and find mutually beneficial solutions as we continue to provide Georgetown customers with our innovative products and services.”

Comcast had no comment on whether that solution might include painting the boxes to look like miniature town houses or colonial bed chests stood on end, taking a page from the cellphone companies that have disguised some of their towers to look like funky pine trees designed by Alexander Calder.

— John Eggerton

HITN Takes a Hit: ‘Sandy’ Leaves Net Gasping for Power

While most of New York City is up and running after the devastation of Superstorm Sandy, at least one network is still struggling to recover from the hurricane’s fury.

HITN, a Brooklyn-based Spanish-language educational network with 40 million subscribers on DirecTV, Dish Network, AT&T U-verse, Verizon FiOS, Time Warner Cable, Comcast and Charter, has been off the air since flood waters from the Oct. 29 storm knocked out power in its offices.

HITN CEO Jose Luis Rodriguez said the network’s Brooklyn Navy Yard-based operation won’t have full power for at least two to three months.

The network and its 35 employees have been using limited generators supplied by the Navy Yard.

But those generators are not reliable enough to support the channel’s 24-hour signal. Rodriguez said an order for a Three-Phase Generator necessary to get the signal on the air is at least three weeks away from being delivered. He would love to hear from anyone in the industry who might have a suggestion about speeding up that process. (You can email Rodriguez’s assistant at

“We know that our audience has been hit hard by the hurricane, especially in New Jersey, and we would like to be there for them,” Rodriguez said. “That’s our biggest frustration … not being able to serve our viewers because we’re not on the air.”

— R. Thomas Umstead