It’s No Contest: Fox News Clobbers Competitors in Cable News Rankings

Fox News Host Glenn Beck (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Fox News Host Glenn Beck (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

When it comes to near total domination of the cable news rankings, Fox News Channel has the right stuff.

The rankings for November, reported on, have FNC shows taking up all of the first 11 slots in the cable news Top 30. At No. 12, the streak is broken by MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann. Even more incredibly, you have to venture all the way down to the 20th position on the list to find the first CNN show in the Top 30. And that show happens to be ‘Larry King Live,’ a show CNN is getting rid of.

Who’s tops in cable news? Who else – it’s Bill O’Reilly, master of the cable news domain with an average nightly audience of 3.509 million for ‘The O’Reilly Factor’ on FNC – plus an additional 1.435 million for the ‘Factor’ repeat at 11 p.m./10c. In fact, the repeat is ranked eighth!

After O’Reilly in the top spot, the rest of the top five, in order, are ‘Special Report with Bret Baier’ (2.404 million), ‘Hannity’ (2.376 million), ‘Glenn Beck’ (2.299) and ‘Fox Report with Shepard Smith’ (2.131 million).

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At No. 12, ‘Countdown with Keith Olbermann’ is MSNBC’s top-rated show with 1.156 million viewers a night. That’s up from the last time we did one of these reports – in late September – when Olbermann averaged just under a million viewers for the three months of July, August and September. In November, Olbermann probably benefited from all the attention he garnered for that four-day suspension he served for campaign contributions.

For the record, Olbermann’s ultra-liberal stablemate on MSNBC, Rachel Maddow, was ranked 15th in November with 1.02 million viewers a night. Amazingly, one show on CNN-owned HLN (formerly Headline News) actually out-rates ‘Larry King Live’ – it’s ‘Nancy Grace,’ averaging 655,000 viewers nightly on HLN. ‘King’ had 635,000.

In fact, all of CNN’s highest-profile shows could be found in the bottom third of the list, indicating that CNN is still struggling to find a way up in the acutely competitive world of cable news and talk. For example, CNN’s newest show, ‘Parker Spitzer’ at 8 p.m./7c, averaged just 453,000 viewers nightly in November.

It’s an illuminating list because it really demonstrates just how dominant FNC has become. And while many of us focus on the rivalries between specific shows – such as ‘The O’Reilly Factor’ vs. Olbermann’s ‘Countdown’ – the ratings appear to reveal that it’s really no contest. Sorry, Keith, but with the biggest numbers by far in cable news, O’Reilly wins.

What do you think of the rankings? And why do you suppose right-leaning FNC scores so much higher in the ratings than left-leaning MSNBC?

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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