CNN's George Zimmerman-driven ratings rush appears to have run out of gas.
After capturing the top slot in the key 25-54 news demo Monday night with exclusive interviews with a juror on the George Zimmerman trial and Rachel Jeantel, who was on the phone with Trayvon Martin just before he was fatally shot, the cable news network has seen its ratings return back to earth.
During Tuesday primetime, CNN averaged 326,000 viewers in the demo, down from the average 576,000 that the network scored during Monday primetime. CNN's primetime ratings fell another 36 percent in the demo, to 210,000 viewers, according to Nielsen, that evening.
The network saw similar declines in total viewers; they dropped from 1.199 million in Monday primetime to 798,000 for Tuesday primetime to 558,000 on Wednesday.
That placed CNN in third on Wednesday behind Fox and MSNBC, which both posted gains that night. Fox took first place in the demo and total viewers with 386,000 viewers aged 25-54 and 1.981 million total viewers, while MSNBC grabbed second place with 213,000 viewers in the demo and 675,000 total.
(CNN took second in the demo and total viewers on Tuesday night, with 326,000 and 798,000 respectively.)
CNN has been criticized by some for focusing so heavily on the Zimmerman trial, perhaps at the expense of other stories, such as last month's coup in Egypt. However, Jeff Zucker, who took over CNN in January, has dismissed that criticism as "a bunch of bunk."