Since the end of 2020, CNN has watched its ratings fall off cliff. On Wednesday, the network hit an embarrassing low. It averaged only 517,000 total viewers across primetime, according to a bombshell report from Mediaite.
By comparison, MSNBC attracted more than double the audience: 1.18 million viewers on average during primetime.
Fox News Channel fared especially well. The conservative network boasted 2.57 million viewers of this sort. In other words, it attracted an audience more than double the size of MSNBC’s… and quadruple the size of CNN’s.
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CNN fared its best during the 8 p.m. timeslot with Anderson Cooper 360°. The program drew 637,000 total viewers with guest host John Berman.
By comparison, MSNBC’s Chris Hayes attracted 1.21 viewers on the same night… and Fox’s Tucker Carlson boasted 3.14 million.
Still, liberal networks like CNN and MSNBC are seeing some causes for optimism in this data.
CNN beat MSNBC among advertisers’ favorite demographic, viewers between the ages of 25 and 54. However, CNN still finished behind Fox News, but it avoided coming in dead last.
The following night, MSNBC dethroned Fox News as the most watched cable network. The liberal network drew a million more viewers than Fox News on Thursday during the Jan. 6 hearings.
Some pundits have cautioned against overstating the popularity of Fox News. For example, the conservative policymaker Matthew Continetti pointed out on a podcast last month that Fox’s Tucker Carlson Tonight draws a significantly smaller audience than any primetime program on network news.
Still, Fox News competes with network in one timeslot: late-night.
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Fox News Channel’s Gutfeld! is reportedly pulling an audience larger than that of some late-night programs on broadcast networks. At one point last year, Fox News host Greg Gutfeld reportedly emerged in second place on the 11 o’clock timeslot.
He finished ahead of NBC’s Jimmy Fallon and ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel, and he remained behind only Stephen Colbert on CBS, according to Nielsen data reviewed by Page Six at the time.
Liberal HBO host Bill Maher called Gutfeld “the new king of late-night” on air in August. Meanwhile, MSNBC has struggled in this timeslot after losing Brian Williams, one of its mainstays.
In this regard, Fox News is, in fact, competing with network television.
“When we look at the pricing and distribution, we’re competing now on ratings with the broadcast networks,” Fox News kingpin Murdoch told Variety in March. “So we don’t compare ourselves in pricing to other cable channels. So it’s really almost a broadcast retransmission pricing.”
The Horn editorial team