Fox News anchor Shepard Smith during a rehearsal at Fox News studios in New York. (Jon Vachon/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST)

Having first overtaken CNN in January of 2002, FNC for calendar year 2011 averaged 1.865 million viewers in primetime – more than CNN (689,000 viewers) and MSNBC (774,000) combined, according to Nielsen Media Research.

Interestingly, FNC’s 2002 primetime average of 1.07 million viewers would also beat CNN and MSNBC’s 2011 primetime performances.

“We are extremely proud of the phenomenal achievement created by the hard work and talent of the Fox News Channel employees and recognize how difficult it is for a cable network to sustain this level of dominance for a decade,” Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes said Tuesday in a news release marking the date.