The 2010 midterm elections were a great night for Fox News ratings.
The network averaged 6.975 million total viewers in primetime Tuesday night to easily dominate the cable news ratings race.
CNN placed second with 2.424 million total viewers, while MSNBC came in third with 1.957 million total viewers. All numbers are according to Nielsen Media Research.
Of course, those numbers pale in comparison to 2008 Election Night, when CNN surged to 12.3 million total viewers, Fox News averaged 9.0 million total viewers, and MSNBC averaged 5.9 million total viewers.
But they also represent an 18% dip for CNN from 2006 midterm elections night, when the network averaged 2.971 million total viewers. MSNBC remained flat from its 2006 midterm election night ratings, when it averaged 1.95 million total viewers.
The most telling story, however, is Fox News, which more than doubled its 2006 midterm election night ratings average of 3.06 million total viewers. The network's coverage was anchored by Bret Baier and Megyn Kelly and included appearances by primetime hosts Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity and Greta Van Susteren as well as analysis from contributor Sarah Palin.
In the 10PM hour, Fox News even beat the three broadcast networks, according to the preliminary ratings data (final ratings for the broadcast networks is not available until Thursday). The network averaged 6.9 million total viewers to NBC's 6.1 million ABC's 5.9 million and CBS' 6.0 million.
Election Night 2010 Primetime Ratings
Fox News: 6.975 million total viewers, 2.439 million A25-54 demo
CNN: 2.424 million total viewers, 1.030 million A25-54 demo
MSNBC: 1.957 million total viewers, 669,000 A25-54 demo
Note: The numbers in this post, which were initially based on Nielsen fast national data, were updated with the final (and almost identical) ratings numbers from Nielsen Media Research.