Matthews muscles win for MSNBC

'Hardball' shoots ahead for an entire week for first time

NEW YORK — MSNBC racked up a rare ratings victory last week as host Chris Matthews beat Anderson Cooper’s CNN program in the 7 p.m. ET timeslot.

According to Nielsen Media Research, “Hardball With Chris Matthews” averaged 428,000 viewers while “Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees” averaged 389,000. “Hardball” also bested “Cooper” in the key news demo of adults 25-54 (180,000 vs. 149,000).

Matthews had never pulled ahead of Cooper for an entire week.

Fox News Channel won the Jan. 19-25 frame overall, averaging 1.4 million viewers in the 7 p.m. ET slot, including 464,000 in the 25-54 demo.

Matthews’ political talkshow was clearly boosted by coverage of the Iowa caucus, the semi-official kickoff of the crowded 2004 Democratic prez nominee race.

So far this election season, Fox News is the clear winner. News net continued to clobber the competish, last week and for the month of January. For the first time ever, Fox News’ 24-hour average rating beat CNN’s average primetime audience.

Aside from CNN’s “Larry King Live,” Fox News had 11 of the 12 top cable news shows. King’s show ranked No. 4 in total viewers. Fox News also was the only cable news net up in total viewership.

In primetime, Fox News averaged 1.4 million viewers for the month of January, up 12% from the same frame last year, according to Nielsen. CNN averaged 878,000 viewers, down 10% from last year. MSNBC averaged 381,000 viewers, down 9%. CNBC was down the most, 14% to 193,000 viewers.

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