By James Hibberd
Updated July 06, 2011 at 07:53 PM EDT

Nancy Grace may not have secured a murder conviction for Casey Anthony, but she sure did lock up some big ratings.

The controversial legal pundit had her largest audience and best ratings ever on Tuesday night following the surprising Anthony verdict, which ruled that the Florida mom was not guilty of killing her daughter Caylee.

Nancy Grace’s show won 8 p.m. with 2.9 million viewers and 1.3 million in the demo — the highest ratings ever for Grace among total audience and the demo. The performance beat the usual time period winner, Fox News’ O’Reilly Factor (747,000 in the demo). She was also No. 1 at 9 p.m. in the demo with 2.2 million and 909,000.

Yet Fox News edged out a victory among total viewers across primetime, the average audience breakdown going like this: Fox News (2.3 million), HLN (2.1 million), CNN (1.1 million), MSNBC (868,000). When the verdict was read Tuesday afternoon, HLN spiked to 5.2 million viewers (compared to 2.9 million on Fox News and 920,000 for MSNBC).

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