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Cable rivals gain on CNN

February 25, 2009|Matea Gold

With gloomy economic news dominating the headlines, Fox News and MSNBC posted substantial audience increases in the last four weeks compared to the same period a year ago, while CNN shed a large share of its audience.

Top-rated Fox News drew an average of 2.4 million viewers in prime time between Jan. 26 and Feb. 22, a spike of 28%, according to Nielsen Media Research data. CNN held onto sec- ond place with 1.2 million viewers but dropped 30% from last February, while MSNBC posted an average of 949,000 viewers, up 23%.

Part of CNN's audience fall-off can be traced to the three presidential primary debates the network hosted last February, including one that drew 8.3 million viewers, greatly boosting its average viewership for the month. But CNN also saw a drop-off for some of its signature shows in the last four weeks: "Anderson Cooper 360" lost 9% of its viewers compared with last February, while "Lou Dobbs Tonight" was off by 15%.

-- Matea Gold

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