The 6 p.m. ET newscast, fronted by the network’s chief White House correspondent and Pentagon correspondent, is finishing up its 50th consecutive month as the cable news leader in its time period. Other than Fox News, the only other news program to achieve such a streak has been “NBC’s Nightly News with Brian Williams.”
According to Nielsen, “Special Report” averaged 1.97 million viewers in February — more than the combined tune-in at the same time for MSNBC’s “Politics Nation with Al Sharpton” (718,000) and CNN’s “Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer” (522,000). It also dominates in the key news demo of adults 25-54 (321,000 vs. 187,000 for the MSNBC show and 158,000 for the CNN program).
Baier became White House correspondent for Fox News in 2007 and began substituting for Brit Hume, then the anchor of “Special Report,” on Fridays. And after Hume exited as anchor in Decembr 2008, Baier assumed the host’s seat.
He has been on top of the ratings heap ever since.
When Baier took over for Brit Hume, I worried the show would suffer from a gravitas drop. To my pleasant surprise, it didn’t. I still revere Hume, but Baier has managed to build the brand by working incredibly hard at providing the best news program on TV. Now it’s hard to imagine the show without him. Full disclosure: I thought Special Report was the best news show on TV long before I became an occasional guest on “the panel.” Now that I get to be on from time to time, I think it’s even better!