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Fox Dominates Cable News as MSNBC and CNN Rework Lineups

By Alexandra Ward   |   Thursday, 28 Mar 2013 01:59 PM

Things are heating up on the cable news scene, with Fox News racing ahead in the ratings and MSNBC and CNN trying to catch up as the heads of each channel become increasingly competitive.

Last week, Fox News averaged 1.3 million daily viewers, MSNBC scored 487,000 viewers, and CNN brought up the rear with 390,000 viewers. Fox has dominated not only the daily ratings, but the coveted 25-54-year-old demographic for a decade, and now MSNBC and CNN are trying to change that.

With new leadership in Jeff Zucker, CNN has been doing better in its breaking news coverage. Last month's story of the Carnival cruise ship disaster drew in 1.2 million viewers on its first night, a 74 percent increase over what the network is used to.

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Over at MSNBC, Phil Griffin is shaking up the lineup in an effort to attract a younger audience. Ed Schulz's "The Ed Show" is shifting to the weekend to make room for the younger Chris Hayes, whose new show "All In" is scheduled to premiere April 1 at 8 p.m. EST.

Griffin has also become increasingly competitive with his old friend Zucker, with whom his career has been intertwined with since 1983.

"All I know is I kicked CNN's a** without Jeff Zucker," Griffin told The New Republic. "Now I gotta kick his a**, too."

As for Fox News, Griffin's producers reportedly refer to it as "Loserville."

The bickering aside, neither MSNBC or CNN appear to be close to closing in on Fox. In 2011, Fox News had profits of nearly $900 million on $1.6 billion of revenue, according to an analysis by SNL Kagan. The same year, MSNBC made $195 million on $420 million of revenue.

"Fox executives mostly laugh at MSNBC and its dreams of cable news domination… To catch Fox, MSNBC wouldn't just have to sustain its current ratings; it’d have to double them," writes The New Republic's Rebecca Dana.

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