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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

CNN's prime-time troubles continue as Fox News celebrate

It looks like CNN's prime-time troubles in 2009 have continued over the past few months, as the New York Times reports today that in the first quarter of 2010, its "main hosts [lost] almost half their viewers in a year."

The losses at CNN continued a pattern in place for much of the last year, as the network trailed its competitors in every prime-time hour. (CNN still easily beats MSNBC in the daytime hours, but those are less lucrative in advertising money, and both networks are far behind Fox News at all hours.)

About the only break from the bad news for CNN was that March was not as bad as February, when the network had its worst single month in its recent history, finishing behind not only Fox News and MSNBC, but also its sister network HLN — and even CNBC, which had Olympics programming that month.

CNN executives have long talked about the network's prime-time strategy of going against the grain of increased partisan commentary in the evenings, instead offering up hosts down the political center.

For major news events this year, like the earthquakes in Haiti or Chile, CNN has excelled in pulling its vast international resources to cover the story from a variety of angles. Both Fox and MSNBC, by comparison, have focused more on hot-button political issues and debates, a strategy that seems to be working better in pulling prime-time viewers.

While MSNBC is also down so far in 2010, Fox News continues its ratings success from 2009 -- the network's best year ever -- by now racking up its best quarter ever. (SOURCE POLITICO)

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