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Flight 370 and Ukraine Give Big Win to Fox News, Big Lift to CNN

Fox News Beat All of Cable in Prime-Time Last Week

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Fox News is leading.
Fox News is leading.

The disappearance of Malaysia Flight 370 and the turmoil in Ukraine has boosted ratings for Fox News and CNN, leaving MSNBC trailing behind.

Fox News is leading the pack as usual, averaging 1.9 million total viewers in prime-time between March 8 and March 18. That's up from 1.7 million in both the week prior to the plane's disappearance, when Ukraine alone dominated the news, and the equivalent week a year prior.

Last week, Fox News was No. 1 in prime-time among not just cable news networks but all cable networks -- a feat that typically only happens around major news events.

While Fox News has been airing extensive coverage of Flight 370, it is also giving ample time to news out of Ukraine.

CNN's audience has surged 60% since the news of Flight 370 broke. Between March 8 and March 18 the network averaged 754,000 viewers, way up from its average of 472,000 viewers between March 1 and March 7. Its recent audiences are also up from the 505,000 average viewers that watched CNN from March 8 through March 18 in 2013.

CNN has essentially gone wall-to-wall with coverage of Flight 370, while picking up a few key developments coming out of Ukraine and other breaking news stories.

The significant jump in viewership once again supports the idea that CNN sees its highest tune-in during major news events. Network President Jeff Zucker has been working to improve viewership in between big news with high-profile documentaries and series like Anthony Bourdain's "Parts Unknown," but news like the missing flight continue to be its bread and butter.

MSNBC hasn't experienced the same lift as the other news networks. It has averaged 632,000 total viewers in prime-time between March 8 and March 18, down from 689,000 in the same period last year and off 16% from the week prior to Flight 370's disappearance.

MSNBC has resisted the urge to go all-in with Flight 370, airing a mix of Ukraine, Flight 370 and other coverage.

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