Fox News 2011: Tops In Cable News, Top 13 Programs in Cable News, But Down From 2010

By Alex Weprin 

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2011 was another strong year for Fox News Channel, with the network home to the top 13 cable news programs in total viewers and the top nine programs in adults 25-54. The network handily topped both CNN and MSNBC in both categories, in both total day and primetime. In total viewers FNC topped CNN and MSNBC combined. In January, assuming the ratings hold up (and there is no reason to think they won’t) FNC will have been the #1 cable news channel for 10 years.

The news was not all positive for FNC however. While the channel was still a commanding #1 in the ratings, CNN and MSNBC were both up from 2010 in total day and primetime, and FNC was down.

  • Primetime: 1.868 million total viewers/ 427,000 A25-54
  • Total Day: 1.073 million total viewers/ 274,000 A25-54

2011 marked the first time that FNC had the top 13 programs in cable news among total viewers. It also secured the top nine programs in the demo.

As usual, the #1 cable news program in both total and demo viewers was “The O’Reilly Factor” — while “Hannity” was #2 in both Total Viewers and viewers A25-54. FNC’s news programs anchored by Shepard Smith and Bret Baier cracked the top five, showing that news remains a draw for the channel best known for its primetime commentators.

“Red Eye,” which airs at 3 AM, had its best year ever, making it the only daily FNC program to see ratings gains compared to 2010.

Among the channel’s weaker performances was at 5 PM, where “Glenn Beck” and “The Five” combined to be down -27% in total viewers and -35% in the demo compared to 2010. FNC argued in the recent New York Times story about “The Five” that the program has been more successful with advertisers than Beck’s program was, so that may help offset the declining ratings in the time period.

In primetime, “The O’Reilly factor,” “Hannity” and “On the Record” were all down in total and demo viewers compared to 2010.

In the morning, “Fox & Friends” performed relatively strong, remaining essentially flat in both total and demo viewers.