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Quick Takes

MSNBC pulls past CNN

July 01, 2009|Scott Collins

In the first few months of the Obama administration, viewers on the right and left seemed to crave opinion. But hard news? Maybe not so much.

MSNBC beat CNN for the first time ever in weekday prime time, according to second-quarter cable ratings data from Nielsen Media Research. No. 1-rated Fox News Channel, meanwhile, piled up one of its best quarters ever, with prime-time ratings soaring by 34%.

The action during 8 to 11 p.m. is especially significant, because that's where MSNBC and Fox show hard-boiled political shows aimed at partisan viewers.

Chasing after liberal viewers seems to have helped MSNBC take the No. 2 spot behind Fox News. For the quarter, MSNBC slipped past CNN in weekday prime time (946,000 viewers versus 939,000). Fox News, however, evidently riding a surge of anti-Obama sentiment among its core fan base, dominated both of its rivals. On a daily prime-time basis (including weekends), Fox averaged 2.1 million total viewers, more than doubling the combined totals of CNN (862,000) and MSNBC (790,000).

-- Scott Collins

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