A lot has been written here and elsewhere about Fox News’ opinion hosts and the networks overall dominance in the ratings during 2009. But the enormous success is seen beyond the Beck’s, O’Reilly’s and Hannity’s too – as FNC’s news programming is seeing record ratings as well.
We talked to Special Report anchor Bret Baier about his first year at the helm of FNC’s 6pmET newscast, plans for 2010 and his lead-in, Glenn Beck.
“I think its fantastic,” Baier tells Mediaite today about his show’s big ratings. “We are building on what Brit [Hume] created, but its very news-driven in my mind. There are a lot of stories out of Washington that effect everybody’s life. It’s like drinking from a fire hose. Every day is a major, major story that a lot of people are paying attention to.”
The success of the show is evident from its year-to-year ratings average. With a week to go in 2009, the program is on pace to do significantly better than the 6pmET, Hume-anchored broadcast in 2008. It’s up 26% in total viewers and 34% in the A25-54 demographic. In a year where many cable networks not named Fox News have seen declines, the increased average is on par with much of the FNC line-up, including The FOX Report, anchored by Shepard Smith, an hour later (up 16% and 21%).
Still, it has to be noted that the huge year-to-year gains at 5pmET have helped the ratings for Baier’s program. And that thanks goes to Beck. “Glenn is the best lead-in any guy could ask for,” says Baier. “As I’ve said before, a rising tide is great for all the boats in the harbor. He has strong opinions. I don’t watch because that’s my crunch time. But he has done fantastic in the ratings and personally he’s a very nice guy.”
Still Baier’s program offers something very different than Beck’s – and as he looks toward 2010, Baier wants to solidify that point. “I’d like to be appointment viewing for politics junkies who can’t get enough of this stuff,” he says. “And I’m just one of them.”
>>> NEXT PAGE: Baier responds to Hume’s compliment, and the show’s new media outreach.