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Cable News Wars

February 2011 Top Cable News Shows

Fox News Channel had the top 11 cable news programs in total viewers and 11 of the top 15 shows in the key 25-54 demo in February.

As usual “The O’Reilly Factor” was #1 in both categories with just under 3.2 million viewers on average, including 770,000 A25-54.

The top MSNBC program in total viewers was “The Rachel Maddow Show,” which placed 12th overall with 1.1 million viewers and 301,000 demo viewers. “MSNBC Investigates” was the top program in the demo, averaging 335,000 demo viewers.

The top CNN program as “AC360,” which placed 16th in total viewers and 10th in the demo, with 854,000 total and 304,000 demo viewers respectively.

The full charts are below.

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Beta Research: Fox News Channel Most Valuable Non-Sports Cable Network

According to a survey of cable operators conducted by Beta Research, Fox News Channel is the most valuable non-sports cable network.

Broadcasting & Cable’s Jon Lafayette has the details.

Not surprisingly, ESPN and ESPN2 top the list, valued at $1.16 and $0.71 respectively, but FNC was right up there at number three valued at $0.58 a sub, beating out cable leader USA Network, as well as Discovery Channel and Disney Channel.

There was also some good news for CNN, which averaged $0.48 per sub, and made the list at #13, cracking the top 15, but down 10 spots from FNC.

CNN last topped FNC in the Beta survey in 2007, since then, FNC has been the top news channel.

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MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell Attacks FNC’s Bill O’Reilly During ‘Rewrite’ Segment

Taking a page from his predecessor Keith Olbermann‘s playbook, MSNBC’s 8 PM host Lawrence O’Donnell dedicated his “Rewrite” segment last night to his competitor on Fox News, Bill O’Reilly.

What set O’Donnell off? Comments made by O’Reilly a few weeks ago about there being “strains of anti-Americanism” at MSNBC.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Comparing O’Reilly to the satirist Stephen Colbert, O’Donnell called the Fox News host:

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Ratings Analysis: Tucson Memorial Service a Big Draw For Cable News Channels

The memorial service honoring the victims of the Tucson shooting was a big draw for the three cable news channels last night.

Fox News led the way, drawing nearly three million viewers in primetime, including 725,000 A 25-54. The network drew around three and a half million viewers during the service itself, peaking with 3.8 million viewers during President Obama’s speech. Bret Baier anchored for FNC, leading into “On the Record” with Greta Van Susteren at 10 PM.

CNN, which typically thrives during breaking news events, saw a huge ratings bump during the service, topping two million viewers during the 8 and 9 PM hours, more than enough to beat MSNBC’s coverage of the event. The two million viewers is four times what the network drew at 8 and 9 PM last Wednesday. Wolf Blitzer anchored, with John King and Jessica Yellin in Arizona.

Despite being the recipient of a solid ratings bump, MSNBC placed third during the actual service itself, with Keith Olbermann anchoring. That having been said, MSNBC also handily beat both Fox News and CNN during the 11 PM hour with a special live edition of “Countdown.” Fox News and CNN aired a replay of the Tucson memorial during that hour.

The full ratings chart can be viewed here.

Update: Nielsen now estimates that just over 30 million people watched president Obama’s speech across NBC, CBS, Fox, ABC, CNN, Fox News and MSNBC. More after the jump.

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The Tucson Shootings: Media on Media Crime

The cable opinion shows all came out last night, after Saturday’s events in Tucson, and put the blame for the shooting spree squarely on Jared Lee Loughner — but some also pointed fingers at each other for inflaming harsh political rhetoric that has become the bread and butter of cable news.

On “The O’Reilly Factor” last night, Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly called out the left for pointing fingers at the right:

Decent people simply do not ascribe motivation to a psychopath like Loughner unless that motivation is proven beyond a reasonable doubt. I can’t tell you how angry this makes me. Far-left loons have attacked me in vile way for years. I have to have security around the clock. Has the “New York Times” ever said a word about that?

The Fox News personality spent most of his time last night on his usual targets:  New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, the National Organization for Women, and of course, MSNBC:

NBC News allows vicious personal attacks on anyone who doesn’t toe the far-left MSNBC line. The hatred spewed on that cable network is unprecedented in the media.

The #1 story on MSNBC’s “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” was “denouncing violence,” which was a continuation of his special comment he made over the weekend over the violent hyperbolic rhetoric that has become the staple of cable news reporting — especially in primetime. Olbermann — like O’Reilly — said there were recent threats to his life.

More on the cablers views and video after the jump…

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Cablers Chase the Northeast Storm (with a little help from their friends)

Fox News Channel — with help from Fox O&O KTTV’s Jane Yamamoto — went into LAX Los Angeles International Airport to talk to stranded travelers, including a couple on their honeymoon.


MSNBC called in The Weather Channel’s meteorologist James Brady for some advice on how the weather will shape up in the coming days.
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President Obama Signs Bill Repealing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ Cable News Channels Cover It

Just after 9:30 AM ET, President Barack Obama signed a bill that would repeal the U.S. military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, effectively allowing gay and lesbian service members to serve openly.

All three cable news channels covered the signing from the Department of the Interior live, as did C-SPAN3:

FNC, MSNBC Forgo Pre-Taped Programming to Cover ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Repeal

All three cable news channels covered the Senate vote to repeal the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy this afternoon, effectively allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the U.S. military. Now the only step is for President Obama to sign the bill.

MSNBC, which normally schedules its documentary programs on Saturdays, covered the lead-up to the vote and the vote itself live, while Fox News broke into a rerun of “Glenn Beck” to cover the news just after 3:30 PM ET. CNN, as usual, was live all afternoon.

(Video) Fox Newsers Stick up for Chris Christie; One says Chris Matthews’ Comments are Racist

Chris Matthews does not hold back in his criticisms of most politicians — especially Republicans — but his recent screed about girth of Governor of New Jersey is not sitting well with his cable brethren across the street.

Matthews continued the Chris Christie fat jokes last week, both on his show and during a “The Q&A Cafe with Carol Joynt,” which was covered by FishbowlDC’s Betsy Rothstein.

Fox News’ Neil Cavuto stood up for Christie on his show Monday, saying Matthews’ comments are racist:

Judging our leaders not by the qualities that matter, but the nonsense like this that does not — where greatness is defined not by who you are but how you look. You know what that is? That is racism – with a scale.”

This afternoon, Megyn Kelly talked about it with Fox News analyst and former overweight Governor Mike Huckabee who added:

I’d rather be in Governor Christie’s shoes — an effective governor doing a good job, proving that solid, conservative governing principles really do work even in a state like New Jersey than I can a person whose talk show probably gets about as many viewers as Governor Christie will shake hands with on any given day in New Jersey.

For his part, for now, Matthews isn’t talking. Through an MSNBC spokesperson TVNewser got a “no comment.”

In September, Matthews’ colleague Ed Schultz was reprimanded by his bosses for calling Christie a “cold-hearted fat slob.”

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Cablers Cover Elizabeth Smart Kidnapping Verdict

Just after 1 PM ET, Brian David Mitchell was found guilty of kidnapping Elizabeth Smart eight years ago, rejecting his insanity plea.

All of the non-business cable news channels covered the verdict, with CNN first with the news at 1:06, followed a minute later by MSNBC, Fox News and HLN.

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