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Growing political interest powers CNN gains among key viewers

February 27, 2008 | 12:10 am

Speaking of debates:

Powered by a mounting national interest in the presidential races, CNN scored a rare ratings win over top-ranked Fox News in February among the key viewer democraphics of 25- to 54-year-old viewers during prime time for the first time in six years.

CNN drew an average of 614,000 viewers in that age group, a spike of 150% over February 2007, while Fox News earned 454,000 viewers, up 10%, according to Nielsen Media Research. MSNBC placed third with 326,000 viewers, an increase of 71%.

Fox News, however, still won a larger overall audience this month, with 1.87 million viewers in prime time, making it the third-most watched among all basic cable networks. CNN had 1.66 million and MSNBC drew 771,000.

The big audience gains for CNN were largely due to primary night specials and the three widely-watched debates the network hosted this month, including last week’s Democratic forum in Texas, which garnered more than 7.5 million viewers.

-- Matea Gold