Fox News has led the cable news for longer than we’ve been running this site. That The O’Reilly Factor and Fox News can garner more viewers than NBC’s Rock Center with Brian Williams in primetime or that O’Reilly brought in more viewers last week than NBC’s beleaguered Thursday night lineup as was the case on Thursday doesn’t really surprise me.
But Fox News was second in total viewing in primetime for the second consecutive week among advertising supported basic cable networks (excludes Disney) trailing only USA Network. That’s the first time that’s happened since the Japan earthquake over a year ago (2/28/11-3/13/11, 3/14/11-3/20/11) and there wasn’t a huge news story fueling it this time around. Also the landscape is a bit different this year with TBS being fueled by reruns of The Big Bang Theory and Fox News still managed to average a hundred thousand more viewers in primetime for the week (1.875 million vs. 1.774 million).
Meanwhile in primetime viewership CNN was all the way down at #35 for the week averaging just 512,000 viewers, trailing fox by nearly 1.4 million viewers and even trailing #27 MSNBC’s 728,000 viewers by a wide margin.