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Tuesday, March 30, 2010
By Steven L. Taylor

Via the NYT:  CNN Fails to Stop Fall in Ratings

The trend in news ratings for the first three months of this year is all up for one network, the Fox News Channel, which enjoyed its best quarter ever in ratings, and down for both MSNBC and CNN.

Regardless of anything else that one may (or may not) like about Fox News Channel, the bottom line is that their model is a smart one:  the prime time line-up consists of basically of infotainment (i.e., those shows are predominantly commentary on the news, i.e., O’Reilly and Hannity or sensationalized “news-y” stuff, e.g., Greta.)

Indeed, even CNN’s most popular program over time, The Larry King Show, is likewise infotainment.  And, must has to admit, the phrase “jumped the shark” comes to mind in re:  King and his program.

And really, people know the Fox personalities:  Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck.  Who is anywhere as close to that level of name-recognition at CNN apart from King?  Wolf Blitzer?

Granted, MSNBC is trying a similar approach, but to far less effect than Fox.  It may simply be that the demographics of cable news viewers trends in a more conservative direction, a market served best by Fox.

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