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Fox News marks a decade on top

January 31, 2012 |  6:39 pm

Shep Smith and Fox News have been on top for a decade

Love it or hate it, Fox News has some staying power.

In January 2002, Fox News Channel surpassed CNN as the No. 1 cable news network. At the time, it was considered a fluke and most industry observers figured CNN would be back on top in no time.

That turned out to not be the case, as Fox News has just finished up its 10th straight year on top.

During that time, News Corp.'s Fox News has almost doubled its prime-time audience. In January 2002, it was averaging just over a million viewers. Now it is averaging 1.9 million viewers. Time Warner's CNN is averaging 841,000 viewers in prime time, and Comcast's MSNBC has 801,000 viewers.

"America has clearly embraced fair and balanced news,” said Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes.

The cable channel has also turned into a cash cow for News Corp., with a value that some industry analysts have put at north of $10 billion.

— Joe Flint

Photo: Fox News anchor Shepard Smith. Credit: Fox News.