Van Susteren grabs Fox News viewers

Show scores second-highest rating for network

WASHINGTON — Anchor Greta Van Susteren has put another feather in Fox News Channel’s cap, scoring record-breaking ratings as Americans searched for information on a Baghdad bombing run that may have killed Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

Monday’s 10 p.m. (EDT) primetime edition of “On the Record With Greta Van Susteren” averaged 6,711,000 viewers, the second-highest score in the network’s history. Bill O’Reilly, host of “The O’Reilly Factor,” anchored the net’s most-watched show on March 19, the first night of the war.

The Iraqi war has re-energized the appetite for cable news, with Fox News continuing to dominate over rivals CNN and MSNBC, as well as over most entertainment nets.

Audience figures also are up for CNN and MSNBC, with MSNBC showing impressive gains. CNN still wins when it comes to cume ratings, i.e., the total number of people eyeballing the net during any given day and evening. Without a doubt, though, Fox has the highest number of loyal viewers, according to Nielsen averages.

On Monday night, it was MSNBC that broke the bombing story, shortly before 10 p.m.

Susteren’s “On the Record” quickly zeroed in on the news of the bombing as well as the widespread speculation that Hussein and his sons may have been killed in the U.S. bombing raid.

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