Megyn Kelly, Sean Hannity, Ratings Surge With Interest In Downing Of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, Israel

Megyn Kelly's Fox News show, The Kelly File, led the dramatic surge in the number of cable news viewers as information on the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, and the ongoing Israeli/Palestinian conflict, both continued to unfold, reports the Boston Herald.

The total number of audience members for all cable channels reached new highs, but particularly Megyn Kelly, Sean Hannity and other Fox News programs reflected the public's desire to follow news on the lost MH17 and unrest in Gaza, according to Nielsen Media Research.

Viewer ship for Megyn Kelly took off Thursday, attracting the most viewers in Megyn Kelly history, with an average of 3.185 million viewers. While this unprecedented surge in Megyn Kelly viewers raised some eye brows, Bill O'Reilly's, The O'Reilly Factor, was the most watched cable news broadcast. Like Megyn Kelly, Sean Hannity also hit a new high in his recent switch to his 10 p.m. Fox News time slot, with 2.58 million viewers, 615,000 of which were adults in the 25-54 year old demographic, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Megyn Kelly and Hannity, along with O'Reilly's numbers, made Fox News the overall most-watched cable news network during Thursday's coverage of the developing events in Ukraine and Israel, according to Nielsen.

Fox News reportedly had over 3 million viewers glued to the screen, not just during Megyn Kelly's show, but throughout its other prime time broadcasts, with an average of 1.5 million total viewers over the course of the day, with 313,000 of those viewers being between 25 and 54 years old.

While Fox News and Megyn Kelly were the leading sources for the tragic downing of the Malaysian jetliner and the happenings in Gaza, CNN also experienced far more viewers than normal. Attracting the most viewers it has had since covering the January 2nd State of the Union address, CNN had 1.2 million viewers during prime time with 488,000 of those in the prime 25-54 demographic. Not Megyn Kelly numbers but still significant, and among CNN's highest numbers, even including its coverage of the lost Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.

Also not as high as Megyn Kelly's numbers, but much higher than normal, MSNBC's coverage of the downed MH17 and the Israeli/Palistinian crisis attracted many viewers.

Megyn Kelly competitor, MSNBC's Krystal Ball, created a story within the stories, however, when she fell victim to a prank call during her live broadcast.

Ball unknowingly engaged a Howard Stern fan who, posing as a military expert in Ukraine, claimed to have seen MH17 shot down. This was not the case, however, and made for an embarrassing misstep, reflecting the perils of trying to be the first to cover breaking news.

Megyn Kelly's The Kelly File, airs daily on Fox News.