CNBC announced today its New Year’s Day marathon of off-net Shark Tank repeats drew its shark tanklargest average audience in the news demo in six years — something you’d think CNBC would scarcely admit unless it knew it could be provided against it. And yet, there CNBC was, boasting its New Year’s Day marathon had drawn more than 4.2 million unique viewers, averaging more than 540,000 total viewers and 240,000 adults 25-54 from 8PM-2AM ET. During its peak hours, CNBC said with pride, it averaged nearly 700,000 total viewers and 300,000 adults 25-54, ranking No. 1 during the 10 PM hour among all cable news networks in 18-49, 25-54 and 35-64 demos. The 10 PM telecast was CNBC’s most-watched program in three years, while the 9 PM telecast was CNBC’s highest-rated among adults 25-54 in three years, the network bragged.

But then, the cable business-news network has been doing badly in the ratings and, like cable news network CNN, is experimenting with non-news programming — reality shows, documentaries, and such — to bolster those sagging stats. Which is why CNBC touted the fact that its premiere night of Shark Tank coughed up triple-digit ratings growth for the network among total viewers (+287%) and adults 25-54 (+345%) compared to the net’s time-period averages during the fourth quarter of 2013. Not coincidentally, CNBC kicks off Shark Tank Tuesdays tomorrow, from 8 PM-midnight ET.

Shark Tank, which has also been a ratings success on ABC, features rich people deciding whether to give budding entrepreneurs the money/deals they need to make them rich too. The sharks include Mark Cuban, owner and chairman of AXS TV and owner of the 2011 NBA championship Dallas Mavericks; real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran; “Queen of QVC” Lori Greiner; technology innovator Robert Herjavec; fashion and branding expert Daymond John; and venture capitalist Kevin O’Leary. Mark Burnett, Clay Newbill and Phil Gurin are the executive producers of Shark Tank, which is based on the Japanese reality series Dragons’ Den format, created by Nippon Television Network Corporation. Shark Tank is produced by Sony Pictures Television.

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