RealClearPolitics Media Watch

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Fox News No. 1 - Seven Years Running

On Oct. 7, Fox News celebrated its 12th anniversary. At the end of the year, it claimed its seven consecutive cable news crown.

Aided by the historic presidential election, Fox News had a record year in terms of viewership - as did its rivals CNN and MSNBC. Fox News finished the year with an average of 2.1 million prime-time viewers, up 40% from 2007. CNN was second at 1.3 million and MSNBC third at 920,000.

The three networks continue to diverge, politically. Fox News further solidified its standing on the right after the departure of Alan Colmes and the addition of Glenn Beck. MSNBC kept drifting left, adding Rachel Maddow to its lineup. CNN/US President Jon Klein, meanwhile, said his network is going nowhere:

Our competition clearly entrenched themselves on the partisan flank, left and right, and that left the vast middle open to us.

The explosive growth of cable news should worry the networks, whose news divisions have continued to be money losers with an ever-shrinking audience. The ratings in general weren't good for broadcast networks, but evening news programs continued to tank in the face of the cable onslaught.

NBC News remains No. 1, up by 3% over 2007. ABC is second, down 3%; and CBS's Katie Couric, despite a slight uptick in recent weeks, will finish last again, down 5%.