Nobody, including most of the network's own bosses, had much confidence in The ½ Hour News Hour, Fox News' new Daily Show-like comic newscast that debuted Sunday. Supposedly the show's liberal-bashing humor had failed to impress anybody in test screenings.
Well, chalk another defeat up for the marketing and research whiz kids. The ratings were actually pretty good. With 1.4 million viewers, The ½ Hour News Hour actually increased the very healthy audience of 1.2 million it inherited from its lead-in, Hannity's America. That's a 69 percent increase over the time slot's audience so far this year, and a whopping 91 percent over the same date in 2006.
The first show will be rerun this Sunday at 10 p.m., with a new episode airing March 4. So far, Fox News has only ordered two episodes -- compared to simply airing an extra 30 minutes of news in the slot, The ½ Hour News Hour is pretty expensive -- but the Nielsen numbers are giving the network something to chew on. Stay tuned.