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Olbermann’s Departure From MSNBC Shakes Up Cable News Rankings

Sep 27, 2011  •  Post A Comment

The loss of Keith Olbermann is having an impact on MSNBC, with the cable news network at risk of once again becoming the third-rated network in prime-time cable news, reports Bill Carter in The New York Times.

CNN, which has been No. 3 in cable news, is improving its ratings, while MSNBC is going in the opposite direction, the story notes. CNN has averaged 257,000 viewers in September in prime time in the 25 to 54 demographic, the group that counts for cable news advertisers, while MSNBC held a slim lead with 269,000 viewers in the group, the piece says. Fox News remained the clear leader with 526,000.

A year earlier, MSNBC beat CNN by 83,000 viewers — when Olbermann was still scheduled in the 8 p.m. block, the story points out. At that time, MSNBC had an average of 256,000 viewers compared with 173,000 for CNN, the article says.

Lawrence O’Donnell has posted a loss of 100,000 viewers from Olbermann’s audience in September 2010, and his decline in viewers appears to be hurting the network’s biggest draw, Rachel Maddow, the piece points out. Her audience has declined 15% this year, to 245,000 viewers from 289,000, the story says.

“I’m confident that we will increase our ratings as politics become the dominant story over the next year," said MSNBC President Phil Griffin.

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