Michael Clemente joins Fox News Channel

ABC News veteran fills vacancy left by David Rhodes

NEW YORK -- Fox News Channel has hired ABC News veteran Michael Clemente as its senior vp of news.

Meanwhile, Fox News Channel came out on top among cable networks by far in viewership and adults 25-54 for the February ratings period while MSNBC logged its best February ever and CNN dropped double-digits compared to the same month a year ago.

Clemente replaces David Rhodes, who left last year to join Bloomberg. He'll report to John Moody, executive vp of news editorial.

Clemente said Tuesday that he was attracted to Fox by the great opportunity that the job and the channel presented. Tuesday was Clemente's first day at Fox News.

Clemente spent almost three decades at ABC News, including the past three years as senior executive producer in the company's ABC Digital Media Group as executive producer of ABCNews.com and ABC News Now.

It was Clemente who launched ABC News Now, the company's digital news offering, in 2004. He was also senior broadcast producer of "20/20" from 2001-2004, senior broadcast producer of "World News Tonight" from 1997 to 1999 as well as senior producer of "This Week with David Brinkley" from 1987 to 1993. He worked at CNN in the mid-1990s overseeing Washington, D.C., coverage.

Clemente's appointment comes at a time when Fox News Channel flexed its ratings muscle with 2.4 million viewers (up 28%) and 548,000 adults 25-54 (up 21%), Nielsen Media Research said. Fox News Channel was third in viewership in primetime among basic cable.

MSNBC had its best ever February, with a 23% increase to 949,000 viewers in primetime viewership and a 3% increase in the demo to 337,000.

It was a much tougher month for CNN's primetime, which with 1.1 million viewers fell 30% and was down 44% to 345,000 adults 25-54. That was in part due to the channel having three debates during the same period.