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February wasn't short enough for CNN

March 2, 2010 |  3:10 pm

Even at just 28 days, February was still a real long month for CNN.

COOPER The cable network's prime-time lineup of Campbell Brown, Larry King and Anderson Cooper continued to struggle big time. CNN's prime-time audience fell 54% to 534,000 viewers, and the number of adults 25-54 was off 57% to 147,000 people compared with February 2009, according to Nielsen.

All three of the hosts hit new lows in viewers. CNN finished well behind Fox News and also trailed MSNBC in the ratings race. 

Prime time wasn't the only headache for the Time Warner-owned cable network. Its total day audience of 469,000 was off 36%, and its 134,000 average in adults 25-54 was a 40% decline from the same month a year ago.

Time Warner brass have continually stressed that they don't just look at ratings when evaluating CNN's performance. The channel is still a cash cow, in part because of its strong international presence.

Still, the constant declines have to be causing some concern for the cable network and its bosses at Turner Broadcasting and Time Warner. It has yet to develop strong personalities to compete with Fox News and MSNBC.

MSNBC's numbers were also off from a year ago if one takes out the cable network's coverage of the 2010 Winter Olympics. In prime time, the network averaged 709,000 viewers, a 25% drop, and 221,000 people in the 25-54 category, a 34% dip.

Fox News, meanwhile continued to dominate the arena. For the total day, it averaged 1.3 million viewers, a 3% gain and in the 25-54 category, it was up 55% to 344,000 people. In prime time, its numbers were off 10% in viewers to 2.2 million and 3% in adults 25-54 thanks to a not-so-great month from Greta Van Susteren and Sean Hannity.

-- Joe Flint

Photo: CNN's Anderson Cooper. Credit: Peter Kramer