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Fox News Channel Is Ratings King for 50th Straight Quarter

It has led among news nets networks since early 2002

Fox News Channel continues to enjoy virtually unparallelled ratings success, this spring racking up its 50th consecutive quarter as the top dog in cable news.

With a winning streak that dates back to shortly after 9/11  — and spans 150 consecutive months — Fox has been the most popular news outlet just about any way you slice it. According to Nielsen, it is No. 1 in both primetime and total-day averages, and in both overall viewers and the key news demo of adults 25-54.

FNC also claims the 14 most popular news programs in total viewers and the top nine in adults 25-54 — led in both categories by “The O’Reilly Factor” and “The Kelly File.” Outside of primetime, the list includes the late afternoon/early evening combo of “The Five” (pictured) and “Special Report With Bret Baier” as well as morning show “Fox and Friends.”

In preliminary Nielsen estimates for the second quarter that ended Sunday, FNC was averaging more viewers in primetime (1.602 million) than the combined totals of MSNBC (578,000), CNN (461,000) and HLN (338,000). The same held true in total-day numbers, with Fox News Channel at 945,000, followed by CNN (342,000), MSNBC (336,000) and HLN (246,000).

In adults 25-54, FNC won comfortably in primetime (267,000) over MSNBC (160,000), CNN (157,000) and HLN (125,000). And in total-day, its 190,000 towered over the tightly bunched CNN (105,000), HLN (104,000) and MSNBC (102,000).

None of the networks looked especially good in year-over-year comparisons, as the highly rated second quarter of last year was driven by coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings as well as the trials of George Zimmerman and Jodi Arias. CNN and HLN both lost about 30% of their primetime adults 25-54 viewership, while FNC and MSNBC were 16% lower.

FNC ranks as the sixth most popular cable network in primetime for the second quarter of 2014 (TNT tops the list). MSNBC is 29th, and CNN is 34th.

Fox News Channel launched in October 1996, but was in fewer than 20 million homes initially. It came of age following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and can now be seen in nearly 100 million homes.

Besides FNC, just about the only other cable network to be able to claim such ratings dominance is ESPN, which has had a monopoly on the sports world for decades.

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