Fox News Still on Top

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Fox News Channel made it five in a row in January -- five years atop the ratings rung in the news category for both primetime and total day.

Fox News, which overtook CNN in January 2002, averaged a 1.4 household rating last month, up 8% from 1.3 in the first month of 2006, according to a Disney ABC Networks analysis of Nielsen Media Research data. That was good for a share of fourth place among all basic-cable networks in January. CNN was flat at a 0.7, while MSNBC improved 67% to 0.5.

Last month, Fox News scored a 9% gain with primetime viewers to a 1.62 million average from 1.48 million, more than twice the combined total of CNN (ahead 12% to 813,000) and MSNBC (a 55% jump to 540,000).

With the key news demo, Fox News averaged 389,000 25-54 viewers in primetime during January, a 22% improvement from the prior-year period. CNN (up 29% to 260,000) and MSNBC (45% to 217,000) also recorded big gains. MSNBC officials said that performance helped the network to accrue its greatest share with that demo since November 2001.

Gauged on a total-day basis, Fox News -- which will launch late-night show Red Eye, which will examine recent developments in politics, entertainment, business and pop culture, Tuesday at 2 a.m. (EST) --  averaged 874,000 viewers (off 3%) in January, while CNN tallied 521,000 (up 13%) and MSNBC 332,000 (up 39%). Among the news demo, Fox grew 11% to 262,000, versus 186,000 for CNN (+28%) and 138,000 for MSNBC (+52%).

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