Nellie Andreeva

The pressure on CNN’s new primetime anchor Piers Morgan to deliver ratings can’t be bigger – according to preliminary Nielsen estimates, 2010 will mark CNN’s lowest rated year since at least 1997 in total viewers and the target demographic of adults 25-54 after the beleaguered news network posted steep double-digit year-to-year declines. More bad news for new CNN chief Ken Jautz: In 2010, MSNBC will beat CNN in primetime for the first time ever in total viewers and for the second consecutive year in adults 25-54. (MSNBC will also log its first ever demo victory over CNN in total day.) Overall, Fox News Channel was once again head and shoulders above the cable news competition, drawing more viewers than its three competitors, CNN, MSNBC and HLN, combined. With its established programs sliding and new shows, most recently Parker Spitzer, fizzling, CNN posted the sharpest ratings declines, down 34% in prime time from 2009. Its sibling network HLN was also deep in the double-digit drop area while Fox News and MSNBC posted modest single-digit declines. Here are the numbers:

Nielsen Media Research (Live+SD)
P2+ P25-54
AA(000) AA(000)
___________________________ ___________________________
2010TD 2009 %Diff 2010TD 2009 %Diff
M-S  6AM – 6AM
Fox News 1134 1191 -5% 301 318 -5%
CNN 435 606 -28% 134 183 -27%
MSNBC 398 401 -1% 141 147 -4%
HLN 276 308 -10% 121 140 -14%
M-S  8PM -11PM
Fox News 2039 2184 -7% 503 539 -7%
CNN 593 901 -34% 174 263 -34%
MSNBC 764 804 -5% 249 276 -10%
HLN 446 559 -20% 144 212 -32%

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