Fox and NBC news surging

Nets see upswing; 'Brokaw' continues rise in ratings

Fox News Channel continued its smash run through the spring, commanding essentially half of the cable news aud on average and posting growth across its lineup.

On the broadcast side, NBC “Nightly News with Tom Brokaw” also continued to surge ahead in the second quarter, posting the best margin of victory over ABC “World News Tonight with Peter Jennings” in at least 16 years, according to Nielsen Media Research released Tuesday.

Nielsen ratings for last week brought dismal news for the No. 3 network newscast, “CBS Evening News With Dan Rather,” which posted what’s believed to be the smallest aud on record (6.48 million).

All the news networks were on high alert as Nielsen released quarterly ratings, which included the last few weeks of the war.

Fox News dominated across the board, increasing its total average audience by 94% over the same quarter last year and 109% in total day. It also boasted four of the top five cable shows, with the fifth being CNN’s “Larry King Live.”

And in June, Fox News was the only net to post aud increases across its primetime lineup, despite wartime auds having subsided. Competitors CNN and MSNBC posted across-the-board losses over the same time period last year.

“People tuned in for the war to sample us, and a good portion decided to stay with us,” Fox News network exec producer Bill Shine said. “Four out five top news shows, that just says appointment viewing.”

MSNBC, the No. 3 news network, also boasted good ratings news, pointing out that its quarterly growth beat CNN.

“I think its twofold. I think our coverage during the war was really excellent and I think a lot of people realized that,” MSNBC news prexy Eric Sorenson said.

CNN said it actually posted its best quarter on record, up 40% in primetime, compared to the same period last year.

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