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Fox News Channel Dominates CNN, MSNBC In 2012 Cable News Ratings; Finishes 1st For 11th Consecutive Year

By Ian Kar on December 14, 2012 5:27 PM EST 0

Bill O' Reilly
Bill O'Reilly's show, "The O'Reilly Factor," was the most popular news program in 2012. (Photo: Wikipedia)

The election year proves to be huge for Fox News Channel, as they have claimed the top spot in the cable news ratings battle for the 11th consecutive year. In both the 25-54 demographic and in terms of total viewership, Fox News has dominated the competition this year, which includes major networks like CNN and MSNBC. 

FNC's programming helped the network garner the ratings, and the top 11 programs in terms of total viewership for both total viewers in primetime and throughout the entire day. FNC placed third among all basic cable networks in the primetime slot, only behind USA Network and ESPN. 

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The difference between Fox News and their competition this year has been staggering. While Fox News placed third in the primetime slot for cable networks, MSNBC ranked 19th and CNN was 29th. In the entire day, FNC was ranked fourth among cable networks, while MSNBC ranked 24th and CNN was a dismal 31st. 

Amazingly, Fox News Channel's primetime number are more staggering that the figures above. FNCH had more viewers in primetime than CNN, MSNBC, and HLN combined, with an average of a little over 2 million viewers, an increase of 11 percent. CNN only reached 670,000, down 3 percent from last year, and MSNBC was a little over 900,000 for an 18 percent increase. 

Even though there was significant growth for FNC and MSNBC, their numbers are slightly down from the 2008 presidential election, writes The Hollywood Reporter

As for FNC's programs, they took the top 11 spots in cable news programs among total viewers, and eight of the top 10 spots in the key 25-54 demographic. The "O'Reilly Factor" was the top ranked show in both total viewers, with 2.9 million, and among adults between 25-54. Other shows in the top five of total viewers include "Hannity" (2.2 million), "Special Report with Bret Baier (1.9 million), "On The Record with Greta Van Susteren (1.87 million), and "The Five" (1.83 million). 

2012 was a difficult year for the once dominant cable news network, CNN. CNN had its 2nd lowest primetime rating since 1992 and its lowest total viewership rating since 1992 with the 25-54 demographic. In addition, two flagship programs, "Piers Morgan Tonight" and "Anderson Cooper 360" scored some abysmal ratings. Piers Morgan's show is during the coveted 9 PM timeslot, previously occupied by "Larry King Live." This year, CNN had its lowest rating in the 9 PM timeslot in the past 18 years. "Anderson Cooper 360," which is on CNN at 10 PM, also had its lowest rated year since the program came on the air in 2005. 

All statistics and ratings are from Nielsen Media Research. 

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