Frederick Brown/MSNBC

739,000: MSNBC's average weekday primetime viewership in 2013

Why he matters: Despite a rocky run of new anchors during the past year -- short-lived Alec Baldwin, low-rated Ronan Farrow -- and a series of public apologies (see: Martin Bashir on Sarah Palin), Griffin, 57, lords over a network with considerable influence. One need only look to its leading coverage of the Chris Christie bridge scandal, led by Rachel Maddow and Steve Kornacki, as proof. While still lagging behind top-rated Fox News, the married father of two's cable news channel rounded out 2013 with a bigger average weekday primetime audience than rival CNN for a fourth straight year. In the key 25-to-54 demo, the left-leaning network led by Griffin, a hands-off manager with strong talent relationships, lured 203,000 viewers, topping CNN for a fifth straight year.

Proudest accomplishment this year: "We've really made an effort to shine a light on stories that aren't getting a lot of attention, whether that's our coverage of the Duke Energy issues in North Carolina, voting-rights issues in Florida, Texas and Missouri or education issues in Arizona. I like this notion that we're getting outside of Washington."

Goal for next year: "I really want to own the midterm elections."

Weekend activity: "My weekends are built around sports. Unfortunately my teams are the Mets, Knicks and Jets, so it's a very dark world."