2013 Ratings: Fox News, #1 For 12 Straight Years, Sheds Viewers Too

By Merrill Knox 

Fox News remained on top in 2013, capping off its 12th consecutive year as the most-watched cable news network among both total viewers and A25-54 viewers. The channel, which finishes the year fourth among all cable networks, beat MSNBC and CNN combined in total viewers. But like its competition, Fox News saw an erosion of its audience, especially among the key A25-54 demographic, in 2013. In primetime, the network is posting its lowest total viewer delivery since 2007 and lowest demo delivery since 2001.

The ratings for 2013 (Nielsen Live + Same Day data):

  • Primetime (Mon-Sun): 1,097,000 total viewers / 222,000 A25-54
  • Total Day Mon-Sun): 1,761,000 total viewers / 294,000 A25-54

Compared to 2012, Fox News was down -5% in total viewers and -19% in the A25-54 demographic in total day. In primetime, the network was down -14% in total viewers and -30% in the demo, the steepest decline among younger viewers of all the cable news networks. With the exception of HLN, all the cable news networks are down compared to 2012, which was a Presidential election year.


The biggest change to Fox News this year was a revamped primetime lineup that debuted in October, with Greta Van Susteren moving to 7pmET, Megyn Kelly moving to 9pmET and Sean Hannity moving to 10pmET. Compared to 2012, Bill O’Reilly’s program, the only primetime show that did not move, is down -6% in total viewers and -23% in the A25-54 demographic. Kelly’s program is up +1% in total viewers and down -23% in A25-54 viewers compared to the 9pmET timeslot last year, and Hannity’s program is up +1% and down -16%, respectively, compared to the 10pmET timeslot last year.

There are signs of growth, however: since the channel debuted its new expanded primetime lineup in October, all four programs — “On the Record with Greta Van Susteren,” “The O’Reilly Factor,” “The Kelly File” and “Hannity” are up in total viewers and the demo compared to their respective year-to-date averages. Kelly’s program is up the most, +20% in total viewers and +10% in the A25-54 demo.

Two Fox News programs, “The Five” and “Red Eye,” posted their best ratings since they launched in 2011 and 2007, respectively. “Fox & Friends,” which saw an anchor change this year, marks 13 years as the top-rated cable news morning show, and has grown in both total viewers and the demo since Elisabeth Hasselbeck debuted in September.