Fox News Dominates Cable News Ratings In 2010, Beating CNN And MSNBC Combined

Fox News will mark 2010 as one of the best years since the network’s launch in 1996. The network posted powerful ratings, beating the combined ratings of CNN and MSNBC and marking the ninth straight year as cable’s top news network.

According to Nielsen, the top five cable news programs in terms of total viewers and viewers 25-54 (the metric used by advertisers and considered the most important by networks) were all on Fox: The O’Reilly Factor (781,000 viewers 25-54); Hannity (585,000); Glenn Beck (572,000); On the Record (481,000); and The O’Reilly Factor repeat (447,000).

In terms of total viewers, Special Report joins the top five cable news shows, as host Bret Baier has taken the show to its highest ratings ever.

Fox’s dominance is demonstrated by its ranking across all of cable–coming in as the fourth highest-rated network in primetime (total viewers), right behind USA, ESPN, and TNT. MSNBC is ranked #28 in primetime, CNN came in at #32 and HLN was #37.

As Fox remains the power player in cable news, CNN’s year has been one of notable declines–Nielsen marking this CNN’s lowest-rated year in primetime (for both total viewers and viewers 25-54) in 14 years. For the full day, 2010 marks a tie for CNN’s worst year ever (viewers 25-54).

The weakness at CNN, with key shows like AC360 and Parker Spitzer marking significant declines, allowed MSNBC to move past CNN into second place for the full year. It’s the first time CNN has fallen into third place behind MSNBC in terms of total primetime viewers.

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