There was huge news out of the Middle East and some compelling confrontation in the Midwest last month, and once again, viewers tuned into Fox like no other cable news channel.
To say it wasn't even close in February when it came to cable news viewership is to greatly understate the case. Most impressive was the performance of Fox newscasts hosted by anchors Bret Baier and Shepard Smith, both of which finished in the Top Five programs on basic cable.
Once again, the highest-rated program in the world of cable news belonged to Bill O'Reilly. More than 3 million viewers a night continue to tune into "The O'Reilly Factor." O'Reilly's reign as king of cable news television really is a remarkable story -- and it seems like no one can make a dent in his dominance. Keith Olbermann tried and failed at MSNBC -- he's headed for the marginalized world of Current TV. And after a few months, CNN has already shuffled its deck of losing cards at 8 p.m. with the departure last week of Kathleen Parker. (More on Eliot Spitzer's "In the Arena" show later this week.)
Here are some of the highlights from Nielsen that will help you cut through all the clutter of ratings, shares and spin for February:
Fox's news anchors, Shepard Smith and Bret Baier, continue to rank within the top 5 programs in both total viewers and in the 25-54 demo
Fox Report with Shepard Smith ranked #3 in P2+ and #5 in 25-54
Special Report with Bret Baier ranked #2 in P2+ and #5 in 25-54
Fox News owned the top 10 cable news programs in total viewers and 11 out of the top 15 in the 25-to-54 demo.
Top five cable news programs (P2+) include: The O'Reilly Factor (3,194,000); Special Report with Bret Baier (2,204,000); Hannity (2,189,000); Glenn Beck (2,055,000); and Fox Report with Shepard Smith (1,949,000)
Top five cable news programs (25-54) include: The O'Reilly Factor (770,000); Hannity (558,000); Fox Report with Shepard Smith (505,000); Glenn Beck (501,000); and Special Report with Bret Baier (466,000)
Every Fox News program from FOX & Friends at 6am to Hannity at 9pm beat at least both CNN and MSNBC combined in total viewers
February Ratings – Nielsen Data
FOX: 1,917,000 viewers (461,000 in 25-54)
MSNBC: 841,000 viewers (258,000 in 25-54)
CNN: 673,000 viewers (215,000 in 25-54)
HLN: 348,000 viewers (111,000 in 25-54)
FOX: 1,114,000 viewers (285,000 in 25-54)
CNN: 484,000 viewers (159,000 in 25-54)
MSNBC: 449,000 viewers (145,000 in 25-54)
HLN: 240,000 viewers (100,000 in 25-54)