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Fox Reigns as News Heats Up

Jul 25, 2006  •  Post A Comment

The 20 most-watched cable news programs last week, when the escalating hostilities between Israel and Hezbollah produced the biggest headlines, were on the Fox News Channel.

Leading the list were four installments of “The O’Reilly Factor,” averaging from 2.68 million viewers to 2.45 million (Friday’s “Factor” averaged 1.32 million viewers), according to data from Nielsen Media Research.

With only one exception, the three major cable news channels saw substantial year-to-year improvements in total viewership and among viewers 25 to 54, the most valuable news demo, in the week beginning July 17.

Fox News averaged 1.9 million total viewers in prime time, off just 3 percent from the comparable week in 2005. But in the 25-54 demo, Fox was up 13 percent year to year with 586,000 viewers in prime time, the most lucrative daypart.

CNN averaged 1.01 million viewers in prime time (up 51 percent), 364,000 of them in the news demo (up 97 percent).

MSNBC’s prime-time average was 386,000 viewers (up 28 percent), 161,000 of them in the demo (up 41 percent).

For total day across the week, Fox averaged 1.2 million viewers (up 12 percent), 398,000 of them in the demo (up 41 percent).

CNN averaged 685,000 viewers (up 68 percent), 284,000 of them in the demo (up 117,000).

MSNBC averaged 280,000 (up 37 percent), 123,000 of them in the demo (up 68 percent).

Worth noting, perhaps, was the head-to-head breakdown at 8 p.m. last week. “The O’Reilly Factor” averaged 2.38 million for the week (631,000 of them in the demo), MSNBC’s O’Reilly taunter, “Countdown” host Keith Olbermann, averaged 494,000 viewers (196,000 of them in the demo). CNN’s “Paula Zahn Now” was second in the time period with 871,000 total viewers (313,000 in the demo).

At 9 p.m., Fox’s “Hannity & Colmes” averaged 2.02 million viewers (614,000 in the demo), while CNN’s “Larry King Live” averaged 1.21 million (399,000 in the demo). MSNBC’s “Scarborough Country” averaged 433,000 viewers (163,000 in the demo).

At 10p.m., Fox’s “On the Record With Greta Van Susteren” averaged 1.85 million viewers (632,000 in the demo). CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360” averaged 1.18 million viewers (473,000 in the demo). MSNBC in that hour averaged 329,000 viewers (145,000 in the demo).