Fox News finds itself in an unaccustomed spot _ out of first

The story is having the opposite effect at Fox News, where conservative commentators were more skeptical about the significance of the almost daily leaks related to Trump's handling of Comey's dismissal and reports that the president shared classified intelligence with Russian diplomats during a White House visit.

Coming in second place overall in primetime was Fox News, with 2.41 million primetime viewers.

Among the youthful viewers, MSNBC had 611,000 last week, CNN had 589,000 and Fox had 497,000.

While left-leaning news organisations have also been accused of distorting the truth when it comes to President Trump, it is Fox News now taking the majority of heat for completely ignoring aspects of the continually developing story in the White House. It averaged 3.45 million viewers in prime time to Fox News Channel's 2.17 million, MSNBC's 1.79 million, ESPN's 1.69 million and USA's 1.45 million. Its primetime lineup is virtually unrecognizable from the one that finished 2016 (the biggest year in cable news history) on top.

On Thursday, at the 7 p.m. hour, Fox News' "The Story", hosted by Martha MacCallum, lost by more than 100,000 viewers in the 25-54 demographic to CNN's "OutFront" with Erin Burnett.

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The once-dominant Bill O'Reilly, who led all of cable news with his show ratings, was forced out in April amid sexual harassment claims. And the company won first place Monday night, when all three networks were covering the terrorist attack in Manchester.

1 in the demo for total day, with 353K viewers.

The numbers suggest what could be the beginning of a shift in viewing trends away from longtime cable news ratings leader Fox News.

As a result, Fox News' primetime lineup has undergone perhaps its most significant shake-up ever, with anchor Tucker Carlson now hosting the 8 p.m. hour and the panel show The Five moving to 9 p.m. In contrast, the torrent of negative headlines about Mr Trump may have made his supporters less likely to watch cable news at all. Fox snared 884,000 viewers between 25 and 54, compared with 729,000 for CNN and 444,000 for MSNBC.

Overall, The Rachel Maddow Show at 9 p.m. has emerged as a ratings juggernaut for MSNBC this year, and especially this month. Added CNN's Brian Stelter, "This is an extraordinary moment in the cable news race". Fox News, meanwhile, finished in third place in that category for the first time since June 2000.

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