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News networks climb ratings

Fox News holds no. 3 spot for fifth week

The news nets continue to scale the heights of cable rankings: Fox News holds steady for its fifth week at its new perch in the No. 3 spot, and CNN’s popular Super Tuesday coverage cushioned a post-debate drop from No. 2 back to No. 8.

Both nets have made significant inroads with the key news demo (25- to 54-year-old viewers): CNN ranks 12th in the list, with a slight edge over FNC to the tune of just 8,000 viewers. FNC has been rising steadily over the course of the dawning presidential campaign, while CNN has been spiking with high-profile coverage such as the debates and then sinking. MSNBC is up just one spot in total viewers this week.

With no clear front-runner for the Democratic nomination and controversy over John McCain’s moderate voting record, it’s possible that the viewership declines predicted for the post-Super Tuesday/pre-election period may come to pass at a much slower rate than expected.

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