Larry King Goes Out On Top
On the last night of its 25-year run, "Larry King Live," which featured appearances from Bill Clinton, Katie Couric, Brian Williams, Ryan Seacrest, and a taped message from President Obama, grabbed a big Nielsen 2.24 million total viewers -- good for first place at 9 p.m.
It bettered -- but just barely -- the now-regular cable news leader, Fox News Channel and its "Hannity," which took in 2.162 million viewers. MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show" was a distant third place at 874,000.
The 2.24 million number more than tripled King's most recent seasonal viewership rating average, which stood around 700,000 this year.
The once most-watched prime-time news show on cable didn't make it a clean sweep, with 530,000 million viewers among the key adult 25-54 viewers -- the demographic TV news advertisers closely watch. It was in second place to Fox News' "Hannity," which had 543,000 adult 25-54 viewers. MSNBC was again a distant third in this category, with 252,000.
During the late 1990s, the show averaged around 1 million, to 1.2 million viewers.
The biggest ratings for "Larry King Live" actually came in 1993 -- in the guise of a presidential debate on NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) between candidates Al Gore and Ross Perot. It was seen by 16.8 million viewers, ranking as the 8th-most-watched cable show of all time.
Currently, Fox News Channel prime-time ratings average 2.152 million total viewer for November, with MSNBC at 822,000 and CNN at 600,000.