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Fox's Bret Baier scores with Nielsen in November

The November cable news ratings are in, and once again, the only competition at the top is among various Fox News programs. The other cable news channels, MSNBC and CNN, are playing in a different, lower league.

But within the Fox News competition, one of the more interesting developments is "Special Report with Bret Baier" finishing second in overall viewership to Bill O'Reilly. Even the harshest critics of Fox News acknowledge that Baier does a straight newscast. And yet, he beat such prime-time ideologues and opinionators as Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck in overall viewership.

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Here are the standings for the top five news programs overall: The O'Reilly Factor (3,509,000 viewers); Special Report with Bret Baier (2,404,000 viewers); Hannity (2,376,000 viewers); Glenn Beck (2,299,000 viewers); and Fox Report with Shepard Smith (2,131,000 viewers).

By the way, that 3.5 million a night for O'Reilly is a very big number that lots of folks who don't like Fox News try to overlook.

Now, in fairness, Baier does finish fifth in the key demographic of viewers 25 to 54 years of age. But note that Shepard Smith, who also does an essentially straight newscast, finishes fourth. So, maybe Fox isn't doing it only with opinion and ideology.

Here are the top five programs in 25-54: The O'Reilly Factor (848,000); Hannity (595,000); Glenn Beck (534,000) Fox Report with Shepard Smith (526,000) and Special Report with Bret Baier (487,000).

On election night, it was the anchor team of Baier and Megyn Kelly that not only swamped the competition, but beat the networks down the home stretch of election results.

That was the same night, Nov. 2, when MSNBC put on five opinionators as anchors -- and they went on to embarrass the channel with their insults and heckling of conservative candidates and winners. MSNBC finished last in the ratings election night.

One last November note, Kelly also had a strong rataings performance: She is up 20 percent in overall viewership, and 4 percent in the key demographic from where Fox News was last November during the 1 p.m. hour.

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