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Fox News Sunday beats Meet the Press in D.C.; Chris Wallace gets new contract

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Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Fox News,CBS

Winning matters in TV. Just ask Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace.

He has built up the show’s audience since taking the reins in 2003 and last weekend it hit No. 1 in the critical Washington market among the key 25-54 demographic, a huge victory over slumping Meet the Press. And now he has a new multi-year contract with the cable network.

According to Nielsen Media Research, Wallace pulled in 23,000 of the key group compared to David Gregory’s Meet the Press which won 19,000. Wallace is up 475 percent among 25-54 viewers in Washington, Gregory down 61 percent.

Fox won the Washington demographic only once in the past 14 months. Washington is considered the top market by guests because they want to know that their bosses, foes, friends in government and others they want to influence are watching.

On paper Gregory should have won: He had the exclusive with exiting Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. But Wallace’s guest turned out to be far more inviting: Sens. Tim Scott and Sheldon Whitehouse, Reps. Sander Levin and Charles Boustany. He also had his regular panel to comment, including Fox’s Brit Hume, AP’s Julie Pace, columnist George Will and Bob Woodward of the Washington Post.

The multi-year signing of Wallace, in the works for a while, came during his 50th year in the business. He is following the long career of his dad, CBS great Mike Wallace.

“It is the high point of my career to work at Fox News. I am delighted and grateful for the opportunity Roger Ailes has given me and look forward to many more years of bringing interesting guests and provocative conversations to our audience.”

Fox boss Ailes said, “Chris is a renowned journalist whose hard-hitting interviews and lifetime of dedication to the news have established him as one of the best in the industry. We are pleased he will continue his exceptional work on Fox News for years to come.”

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.