Political Gabfests Heated Up The Small Screen In '07

03/28/2008 02:45 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Jacques Steinberg New York Times

AS television viewers paid increasing attention this year to the presidential race, they often sought out more politically opinionated talk, at least on cable.

The overall audience for Keith Olbermann's "Countdown" on MSNBC -- a program whose steady drumbeat of criticism of the Bush administration included a call for the president's resignation -- grew by more than 50 percent from 2006 to 2007 , according to Nielsen Media Research. The spike in Mr. Olbermann's viewership (to an estimated 726,000 viewers a night in 2007, as of Dec. 9) persuaded MSNBC, a unit of NBC News, to cast its prime-time programming as a more liberal counterpoint to Fox News. (The New York Times and NBC News also agreed in 2007 to work together to cover aspects of the 2008 presidential campaign, on MSNBC and elsewhere.)

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