MSNBC Beats CNN in Weekly Primetime For First Quarter '09 Ratings Period

Fox News Channel Remains Number One Cable News Network

MSNBC has hit a milestone. For the first time in its history, the cable network beat CNN in weekly primetime for the first quarter 2009 ratings period.

From 8-11 p.m. (M-F) MSNBC bested CNN in total viewers (1,147,000 versus. 1,117,000) and among news' target sales demographic of 25-54-year-olds (375,000 versus. 328,000).

MSNBC is up 22 percent in total viewers versus first quarter last year and up 3 percent in the demo while CNN is down 12 percent in the demo and flat in total viewers.

As usual Countdown with Keith Olbermann beat out CNN's No Bias No Bull at 8 p.m. in total viewers and the demo and Rachel Maddow bested Larry King Live in the demo (340,000 versus. 293,000).

Additionally, MSNBC's Morning Joe (6-9 a.m.) beat out CNN's American Morning in the demo (173,000 versus. 168,000) for the first time since August 2001.

Fox News Channel extended its winning streak, beating CNN and MSNBC combined in total viewers for the quarter, its third highest rated primetime quarter in network history. FNC ranked second in primetime among ad-supported cable behind only USA. CNN and MSNBC were ranked 17th and 24th, respectively. The network had 9 of the top 10 programs in cable news among total viewers, including the O'Reilly Factor, which marked its 100 consecutive month as cable news' most watched program. The addition of Glenn Beck has also been a success story for Fox News. Beck's 5 p.m. program averaged 2.23 million total viewers and 548,000 in the demo, gains of 90 percent and 115 percent, respectively, compared to the first quarter last year.

HLN had its best quarter in history in total day and primetime, growing 64 percent (primetime M-Sun) and 74 percent (primetime M-F) in the demo and 51 percent and 64 percent in total viewers, respectively. In total day, HLN was up 22 percent.