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NBC News Remains Brightest Peacock Feather While MSNBC Declines In 2010

We’ve written a lot about the trouble at NBCU – from prime time to late night to the Olympics to, well, the executive level.

But when it comes to the news division, NBC has cemented itself firmly in first place. Well, except on cable.

Earlier this week, Huffington Post’s Danny Shea broke down the various ways NBC News was on top. In the weekday morning, with Today, which has stayed far and away #1 for years. On Sunday morning, with Meet the Press, still firmly in first on most weeks. And with NBC Nightly News, which finished 2009 well above the competition.

Shea also spoke to NBC News President Steve Capus:

Roger Ailes‘ sense of healthy paranoia manifests itself here,” he said. “Staying number one enables everything that we do.”

To stay number one, Capus — who says all of his network’s major talent are locked up in long-term deals — will rely on his network’s star power, which he calls “a Mount Rushmore of television news” as well as its deep bench of younger talent. He says his boss, embattled NBC Universal President and CEO Jeff Zucker, is very supportive in this regard.

But while NBC News continues in first place, MSNBC lost a little ground during January 2010, as CNN retook second place (FNC was way ahead as always) in prime time. MSNBC’s prime time anchor, Keith Olbermann, has seen ratings decline significantly year-to-year, although he still remained ahead of CNN’s Campbell Brown last month. This was a point made by Daily Finance’s Jeff Bercovici last week. “Is America Getting Over Keith Olbermann?” he asked. (Mediaite’s Tommy Christopher asked “Is Keith Olbermann Losing It?” on January 22, and today the LAT‘s Andrew Malcolm asked a similar question.)

This got a “Worst Persons” mention by Olbermann last night (video below), which Olbermann referred to as “a right-wing site called Daily Finance or Finance Daily.” Today, Bercovici responded to Olbermann:

I don’t know whether you’ve ever actually read anything on DailyFinance, or whether one of your producers just prepped a script for you and you performed it. But stuff like this is why people like Jon Stewart and me increasingly have questions about your intellectual honesty and integrity. Knock it off already.

Here’s Olbermann’s WPITW last night:

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