2012 Ratings: Fox News Number One For 11 Straight Years

By Alex Weprin 

2012 saw Fox News mark 11 years as the number one cable news channel in total viewers and the demo, though the election didn’t provide much in the way of a ratings bump, with the network only up a bit in total viewers, and down slightly in the demo.

  • Primetime: 2.043 million total viewers/ 423,000 A25-54
  • Total Day: 1.152 million total viewers/ 273,000 A25-54

Unlike CNN, which was down in both total and demo viewers just about every hour, and MSNBC, which was up in both categories just about every hour, Fox News had some high points and low points, with most of its programs roughly on par with their 2011 performances. That said, the network still drew more viewers than CNN, MSNBC and HLN combined in primetime. It was also the second-highest delivery for the network ever in total viewers.

The network’s dayside news programming saw the most consistency, with the 10 AM edition of “America’s Newsroom” and the 11AM and 12PM installments of “Happening Now” posting growth in both total and demo viewers. “America Live” at 1 PM and 2 PM was up double digits in the demo and high single digits in total viewers compared to 2011.

A few shows were effectively flat compared to 2011, like 6PM’s “Special Report with Bret Baier” which was down -1% in total viewers and +3% in the demo, somewhat surprising for such a big political year. That said, “Special Report” was the only news program (as opposed to opinion) on cable to crack the top five in total and demo viewers. “The Five” was up +9% in total viewers, but lost -3% in the demo compared to last year.

The primetime shows have the highest ratings on the network, but also showed the starkest contrast between total and demo viewers. at 7 PM “Fox Report” was up +1% in total viewers, and down -6% in the demo. At 8 PM “The O’Reilly Factor” was flat in total viewers, and down -13% in the demo compared to last year. At 9 PM “Hannity” was up +7% in total viewers but down -8% in demo viewers. 10PM’s “On the Record with Greta Van Susteren” was up +10% in total viewers, and flat in the demo.

In the mornings, “Fox & Friends” was up +12% in total viewers, but down -8% in the demo.

During the fourth quarter, FNC was the number two cable channel in total day, behind only Nickelodeon, the first time that has happened since 2003. It was a very close number three in primetime.