Fox News to end 2016 as most-watched network in all of cable

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Fox News will finish 2016 as the most-watched network in all of cable for the first time in its history, beating out non-news channels such as ESPN, USA Network and TBS. 
Fox News ranks fifth in all of television, trailing only broadcast stations NBC, CBS, ABC and Fox.
“As we close out our 20th year, FOX News continues to redefine television news and break ratings records, proving it is indeed the most watched and most trusted television news source in the country,” co-presidents Jack Abernethy and Bill Shine said in the joint statement. 
According to Nielsen research, Fox News averaged 2.4 million viewers in prime time and 1.4 million viewers in total day — up 36 percent compared to 2015.
{mosads}In the key 25–54 year-old demographic advertisers value most, the network saw its highest viewership levels since 2010 — averaging 481,000 viewers, a 42 percent increase from the previous year. 
The gaudy ratings come during a year of controversy and big changes at the network. 
Former Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes was forced to resign in July following several accusations of sexual harassment by women working at the network, most notably by former host Gretchen Carlson. 
In September, former host Greta Van Susteren reportedly attempted to renegotiate her contract following Ailes’s departure. Days later, Van Susteren and the network parted ways. 
But ratings actually went up in Van Susteren’s 7 p.m. time slot after she was replaced by Brit Hume.
Following the election, Tucker Carlson was named permanent host of the time slot. The former MSNBC and CNN host has since enjoyed some of the highest ratings on the network, oftentimes finishing in the top three programs overall in the cable news race. 
Overall, Fox News captured seven of the top 10 programs in the younger 18–49 demographic. 
“The O’Reilly Factor” finished in the top spot, followed by “The Kelly File” and “Hannity.” 
Fox’s priority for 2017 appears to be re-signing “Kelly File” host Megyn Kelly, whose contract expires in July. 
An offer of $20 million annually is reportedly on the table for Kelly, but she has expressed a willingness to explore other offers. The 46-year-old former attorney currently earns $15 million annually, according to The Wall Street Journal. 
CNN and ABC are seen are the most likely suitors for Kelly if she leave Fox. 
Money could be a potential issue in the case of CNN, however, as its highest-paid host, Anderson Cooper, earns a reported $10–12 million per year. No other host or anchor on CNN earns more than $3 million annually, according to the Los Angeles Times. 
Overall, all of the major cable news networks enjoyed record ratings, primarily due to an unpredictable and tumultuous campaign season resulting in Donald Trump’s stunning upset victory over Hillary Clinton in the presidential election. 
CNN finished with an average of 1.3 million viewers in prime time, its best showing since 1995 — a year before Fox News and MSNBC came into existence. CNN also registered with 423,000 viewers in the key demographic, behind Fox but an 80 percent increase over 2015.  
MSNBC has enjoyed its most-watched year ever, averaging 1.08 million viewers in prime time while registering 270,000 viewers in the key demographic, a 97 percent increase from 2015. 
The historic ratings for Fox News comes as the Fox Business Network will finish 2016 with its most-watched year in the channel’s nine-year history in both total viewers and the key demographic. 
According to Nielsen research, in the fourth quarter of this year at the height of the election season, Fox Business topped rival CNBC in total day total viewers, marking the first quarterly win over rival CNBC in its history. 
In 2015, CNBC announced it would no longer rely on Nielsen to measure its daytime audience, Instead, it decided to retain Cogent Reports, a marketing and research firm, to measure audiences instead. CNBC argues that businesses, exercise facilities, bars, restaurants and trading floors aren’t counted by Nielsen, prompting the switch.
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