Fox News Channel has conquered a new ratings feat, meeting Turner Network Television at the top of
the first quarter cable Nielsen Media Research ratings.
Fox News and TNT each posted 2.0 average prime-time ratings for the quarter.
TNT, which has bigger distribution, edged out about 150,000 more viewers than
Fox News, counting 2.33 million to Fox News' 2.16 million.
It's the first time a news network has been in the top spot for a
quarter since 1991, when Cable News Network dominated cable household ratings during the first
Gulf War, according to Lifetime Television research chief and TV historian Tim Brooks.
Fox News -- which didn't launch until 1996 -- surpassed CNN in monthly ratings in
January 2002 and hasn't looked back.
Fox News' ratings jumped 67 percent compared with the first quarter of last year.
Its rivals also performed well. CNN finished with a 1.4 average, up 56
percent from a 0.9 average last year.
And MSNBC perked up 75 percent to a 0.7 average from a 0.4 a year ago.
Among entertainment channels, TNT's ratings grew 18 percent. Sci Fi
Channel, with a 1.0 average, increased 25 percent, and Courtroom Television Network, The History Channel
and FX were each up about 13 percent.
After grabbing a stunning 2.2 average last year, Lifetime was off 23 percent
to a 1.7 rating.
Discovery Channel is down 25 percent to a 0.9 average.
ABC Family slipped 33 percent to a 0.6 rating, and The New TNN was off 20 percent to a
0.8 prime-time average.