Below, the cable news ratings report for the third quarter of 2023.
Fox News Channel
The third quarter of 2023 was better than the second for America’s most popular cable news network. For instance, Q3 Nielsen ratings for Fox News were up, boosted by the installation of a permanent weekday primetime lineup that drove viewership growth relative to that rough second quarter.
Featuring a primetime lineup of Jesse Watters, Sean Hannity and Greg Gutfeld, to go with the first Republican primary debate of the 2024 campaign (Aug. 2023), Fox News averaged 1.75 million total primetime viewers in Q3 2023. That’s +3% from Q2 ’23, but -20% from Q3 ’22. Additionally, Fox News averaged 192,000 A25-54 viewers in primetime in Q3, No. 5 on all of basic cable, and +7% from the prior quarter (Q2 ’23). However, that 192,000 A25-54 average in primetime is -35% from what the network averaged in Q3 of of last year.
Switching dayparts, FNC averaged more than 1.1 million total viewers across the 24-hour day time period (total day), led by The Five, which can now boast eight consecutive quarters as cable news’ most-watched show, and back to back quarters at No. 1 in A25-54 viewers. Fox News’ 1.1 million total day viewers average represents a -5% drop from Q2 2023 and a -22% drop from the year-ago quarter (Q3 2022).
Additionally, Fox averaged 132,000 A25-54 in total day this past quarter, which is -6% from what the network averaged in Q2 ’23, and -34% from Q3 of last year. Fox News ranked No. 2 in total day A25-54 in Q3 ’23, only behind ESPN.
Despite these mixed trends, Fox News marked its 87th consecutive quarter as the No. 1 cable news network in total viewers, took first place for the 10th consecutive quarter in total viewers and among Adults 25-54, and also continued to average more total day viewers than any other basic cable network.
According to live-plus-same-day data from Nielsen for Q3 2023, MSNBC averaged 813,000 total viewers across the 24-hour day time period, which is No. 2 across all of basic cable only behind rival Fox News. The 813,000 total day viewer average represents a +2% gain from Q2 2023 and a +4% gain from the year-ago quarter (Q3 2022).
Additionally, MSNBC averaged 88,000 Adults 25-54 in total day this past quarter, which is -7% from what the network averaged in Q2 ’23, but +4% from Q2 ’22. In Q3 ’23, MSNBC averaged the same number of A25-54 viewers in total day at CNN.
Switching dayparts, MSNBC averaged 1.285 million primetime viewers in Q3, No. 2 on all of basic cable, behind only Fox News. The network’s 1.285 million primetime viewer average is +1% from Q2 ’23 and +1% from Q2 ’22. MSNBC averaged 129,000 A25-54 in primetime this past quarter, No. 16 on basic cable, -7% from the prior quarter (Q2 ’23), but +2% from the most recent summer quarter (Q3 ’22).
According to live-plus-same-day data from Nielsen for Q3 ’23, CNN gained total viewers from the previous quarter, but lost A25-54 viewers.
CNN averaged 471,000 total viewers across the 24-hour day time period, which is No. 4 across all of basic cable only behind Fox News, MSNBC, and ESPN. CNN’s 471,000 total day viewer average represents a +2% gain from Q2 2023 but a -16% loss from the year-ago quarter (Q3 2022). Additionally, CNN averaged 88,000 Adults 25-54 in total day this past quarter, which is -7% from what the network averaged in Q2, and -20% from Q3 of last year.
Switching dayparts, CNN averaged 596,000 total primetime viewers in Q2, No. 9 on all of basic cable, +4% from Q2, but -17% from Q3 of last year. Additionally, the network averaged 119,000 A25-54 in primetime this past quarter, No. 19 on basic cable, -6% from the prior quarter (Q2) and -21% from the most recent summer quarter.
Q3 2023 cable and business news ratings, Monday-Sunday (Nielsen live-same-day data):
|• Total Viewers:||1,748,000||1,285,000||596,000||276,000||87,000||119,000||175,000|
|TOTAL DAY||Fox News||MSNBC||CNN||Newsmax||NewsNation||FBN||CNBC|
|• Total Viewers:||1,100,000||813,000||471,000||169,000||55,000||115,000||119,000|
Lastly, here are MSNBC’s and CNN’s respective press releases for Q3, 2023:
- MSNBC TOPS CNN IN A25-54 TOTAL DAY VIEWERSHIP FOR 2ND STRAIGHT QUARTER
- Delivers Most-Watched Quarter in More Than 2 Years, While CNN and FOX News Suffer Double-Digit Declines Among A25-54 and Total Viewers
- Posts 11th Straight Quarterly Win Over CNN Among Total Viewers, with Largest Total Day Viewership Advantage Over CNN Ever
- Cuts FOX News’ Lead by 60% Year Over Year in Both Demos, Narrowing Total Day Gap to Smallest Margin in 2.5 Years
- “The Rachel Maddow Show” is the #1 Primetime Cable News Program in A25-54 and Total Viewers for 2nd Straight Quarter
- “Morning Joe” is the #1 Cable Morning Show in NY and D.C, Beats CNN in A25-54 for 6th Straight Quarter and Total Viewers for 34th Straight Quarter
- “The 11th Hour with Stephanie Ruhle” is the #1 Cable Program at 11pm in Total Viewers, 1st Quarterly Win in More Than 2 Years
- Tops CNN During Dayside for 6th Straight Quarter with Largest Advantage in 4 Years
- Dominates CNN During Prime for 27th Straight Quarter in MSNBC’s Most-Watched Quarter in 2 Years
- Beats CNN on Weekends for 2nd Straight Quarter with Largest Lead Ever
- MSNBC Tops CNN Among A25-54 in Every Weekday Hour from 5am-10am and 4pm-2am, Plus Sundays at 12pm
- #1 in All of Cable Among Black, Hispanic, and Asian Viewers
- Most Loyal, Engaged Audience in All of Television; Viewers Spend Twice as Much Time Watching MSNBC as CNN
- Adds More Viewers Year Over Year Than Any Other Top 40 TV Network
- MSNBC Digital is Pacing to Have its Best Quarter Since Q121
- MSNBC Digital Continued to Rank as the #1 Political News Destination
- MSNBC had its 2nd Straight Record Quarter on Peacock
- MSNBC Podcasts had their 2nd Best Quarter on Record
- (NEW YORK – SEPT. 26, 2023) – For the 3rd quarter of 2023, MSNBC beat CNN in the key Adults 25-54 demo during total day viewership (M-Su 6am-6am), notching the network’s 2nd consecutive quarterly win and best quarterly ratings since 2021, according to Nielsen ratings data. Among total viewers, MSNBC was the #2 cable network, sweeping CNN in total day (M-Su 6am-6am; 11th straight quarter), mornings (M-F 6am-10am; 33rd straight quarter), dayside (M-F 10am-4pm; 6th straight quarter), prime (M-Su 8pm-11pm; 27 straight quarters), and weekends (Sa-Su 6am-6am; 2nd straight quarter).
- In total day (M-Su 6am-6am), MSNBC averaged 860K total viewers and 92K A25-54 (vs. CNN’s 471K total viewers and 88K A25-54; FOX News’ 1.1M total viewers and 132K A25-54). MSNBC had its largest quarterly advantage over CNN ever (+83%) and cut FOX News’s total day lead by 60% compared to a year ago. The 240K viewer gap between MSNBC and FOX News was the narrowest in 2.5 years (since 1Q21). In weekday total day (M-F 6am-6am), MSNBC’s advantage over CNN was even wider with 981K total viewers and 106K A25-54 (vs. CNN’s 497K total viewers and 96K A25-54). Among total viewers, MSNBC beat CNN in every weekday hour from 5am-12am.
- While CNN and FOX News faced declines, MSNBC continued to deliver viewership growth across key dayparts in A25-54 and total viewers. In total day, MSNBC was up +5% in total viewers (vs. CNN’s -16% and FOX News’ -22%) and up +5% in A25-54 (vs. CNN’s -20% and FOX News’ -34%). MSNBC added more viewers year over year than any other top 40 television network, adding 38K total viewers since 3Q22. All MSNBC weekday programs from 6am to 12am had viewership gains from a year ago, while all CNN and FOX News programs had double-digit declines in A25-54.
- In dayside (M-F 10am-4pm), “MSNBC Reports” beat CNN for the 6th consecutive quarter in total viewers 809K (vs. CNN’s 608K). Among total viewers, this was MSNBC’s best performance since 2Q21 and largest advantage over CNN since 4Q19.
- “Morning Joe” (M-F 6am-10am) was again the #1 cable program in A25-54 and total viewers in New York and Washington, D.C. in its time slot. “Morning Joe” topped CNN for the 34th consecutive quarter in total viewers and 6th straight quarter in A25-54. “Morning Joe” ranked #2 across all of cable with 1M total viewers, more than doubling CNN’s morning audience (389K viewers). Among A25-54, “Morning Joe” delivered 114K viewers (vs. CNN’s 74K). “Morning Joe” delivered double-digit year-over-year viewership growth, while FOX News (-18%) and CNN (-10%) declined.
- MSNBC prime (M-Su 8-11pm) had its most-watched quarter in over two years (since 2Q21). In weekday prime (M-F 8-11pm), MSNBC topped CNN in A25-54 for the 3rd quarter in a row and in total viewers for the 30th straight quarter (27th straight in full week prime). MSNBC weekday prime averaged 1.6M total viewers (vs. CNN’s 670K) and 161K A25-54 viewers (vs. CNN’s 137K) in 3Q23. MSNBC’s primetime lineup draws twice as many Independents and Republicans as CNN, according to data from Nielsen MRI Fusion.
- “The Rachel Maddow Show” (Mondays at 9pm), which celebrated its 15th year on air on Sept. 8, was America’s most-watched primetime cable news program for the 2nd straight quarter and, excluding sports, the most-watched primetime program on all of cable in 3Q23. “Maddow” averaged 2.6M total viewers and 262K A25-54, winning its time slot in both demos for the 2nd straight quarter (FOX News 2.1M total viewers and 212K A25-54; CNN 604K total viewers and 126K A25-54). In addition to beating CNN in the demo for 6 straight quarters, “Maddow” has topped CNN in its time slot with total viewers in every quarter for 14 straight years (56 straight quarters). On Monday nights, more Independents tune to MSNBC than to FOX News or CNN, according to data from Nielsen MRI Fusion.
- “The 11th Hour with Stephanie Ruhle” (M-F at 11pm) was the most-watched cable program in its time slot in 3Q23. “The 11th Hour” averaged 1.14M total viewers, topping both FOX News (1.11M) and CNN (433K). This was the first quarterly cable news win since Ruhle began hosting “The 11th Hour” in March 2022, extending the program’s total viewer winning streak over CNN to 28 straight quarters. “The 11th Hour” also topped CNN among Adults 25-54 for the 5th straight quarter.
- MSNBC’s winning streak over CNN continued into the weekend, with MSNBC’s largest weekend advantage ever over CNN. MSNBC averaged 493K total viewers (vs. CNN’s 444K), posting a 49K advantage.
- MSNBC has the most loyal and engaged audience of any broadcast or cable network. According to Nielsen data for 3Q23, the average MSNBC viewer watched the network for 9.5 hours per week (572 minutes), more than doubling CNN’s viewer average of 4.7 hours (282 minutes) and topping FOX News’ viewer average of 8.9 hours (533 minutes).
- MSNBC’s programming attracts the most diverse cable audience in America. MSNBC maintained its lead as the #1 cable network among Black viewers for the 2nd straight quarter, and also ranked #1 in all of cable among Hispanic and Asian viewers. Among cable news networks, 3Q23 marked MSNBC’s 11th straight quarterly win among Black viewers and 2nd straight win among Hispanic and Asian viewers. Excluding sports programming, MSNBC’s “The Beat with Ari Melber” and “Deadline: White House” ranked #1 and #2 respectively among Hispanic viewers, while “The Beat” and “The ReidOut” ranked #1 and #2 among Asian viewers. MSNBC is also home to the 10 highest-rated cable news programs among Black Americans. Across all of cable, MSNBC had 10 of the Top 20 programs among Black viewers in 3Q23: “The ReidOut,” “The Beat with Ari Melber,” “Deadline: White House,” “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell,” “The Rachel Maddow Show,” “All In with Chris Hayes,” “Morning Joe,” “PoliticsNation with Rev. Sharpton,” “Alex Wagner Tonight,” and “The 11th Hour with Stephanie Ruhle.” Additionally, “PoliticsNation with Rev. Sharpton” continues to have the highest concentration of Black viewers (42%) of any program on cable news.
- MSNBC reached its largest audience since January 2021 with monthly unique visitors growing 43% year-over-year. It was MSNBC’s fifth straight month of double-digit year-over-year growth. MSNBC also continued to rank as the number one political news destination based on total minutes, a position it’s held for 29 straight months. Third quarter to-date, MSNBC is pacing to have its best quarter since Q1 2021 with 22 million monthly average unique visitors in July and August 2023.
- For the first quarter on record, MSNBC on YouTube beat FOX News and CNN on YouTube in monthly video views. MSNBC on YouTube is averaging over 200M monthly video views this quarter making it one of our 5 best quarters on record on the platform and strongest quarter since the 3Q22.
- MSNBC had its 2nd straight record quarter on Peacock with three times as many hours viewed as it saw during the same quarter last year. The last 4 months have been the brand’s strongest ever on the platform.
- MSNBC podcasts had their 2nd best quarter on record with downloads pacing up by double-digits year-over-year. August was the brand’s 2nd best month on record with downloads up 26% year-over-year.
- The following programs extended MSNBC’s dominance over CNN during their respective time slots in 3Q23:
- “Way Too Early” at 5am: 24 straight quarters in total viewers; second straight quarter in A25-54
- “Morning Joe” from 6am-10am: 34 straight quarters in total viewers; 6 straight quarters in A25-54
- “Ana Cabrera Reports” at 10am: 6 straight quarters in total viewers
- “José Díaz-Balart Reports” at 11am : 3 straight quarters in total viewers
- “Andrea Mitchell Reports” at 12pm: 5 straight quarters in total viewers
- “Chris Jansing Reports” from 1pm-3pm: 5 straight quarters in total viewers
- “Katy Tur Reports” at 3pm: 6 straight quarters in total viewers
- “Deadline: White House” from 4pm-6pm: 25 straight quarters in total viewers; 3 straight quarters in A25-54
- “Deadline” at 4pm was #1 in cable news in both demos for the second straight quarter
- “The Beat with Ari Melber” at 6pm: 13 straight quarters in total viewers; 3 straight quarters in A25-54
- “The ReidOut” at 7pm: 13 straight quarters in total viewers; second straight quarter in A25-54
- “All In with Chris Hayes” at 8pm: 10 straight quarters in total viewers; second straight quarter in A25-54
- “The Rachel Maddow Show” at 9pm: 56 straight quarters in total viewers; 6 straight quarters in A25-54
- “Maddow” was the #1 cable news program in A25-54 and total viewers for the second straight quarter
- “Maddow” was also the #1 primetime cable program (i.e. excluding sports and one-off specials)
- “Alex Wagner Tonight” at 9pm: 5 straight quarters in total viewers; second straight quarter in A25-54
- “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” at 10pm: 33 straight quarters in total viewers; 5 straight quarters in A25-54
- “The 11th Hour with Stephanie Ruhle” at 11pm: 28 straight quarters in total viewers, 5 straight quarters in A25-54
- “The 11th Hour” was the #1 cable program in its time slot
- “The Katie Phang Show” weekends at 8am: second straight quarter in total viewers
- “Velshi” weekends at 10am: second straight quarter in total viewers
- “Alex Witt Reports” Saturday from 12pm-2pm and Sundays from 1pm-2pm: second straight quarter in total viewers
- “Inside with Jen Psaki” Sundays at 12pm: 2 straight quarters in total viewers and A25-54
- “Yasmin Vossoughian Reports” Weekends from 2pm-4pm: second straight quarter in total viewers
- “Ayman” Saturdays from 8pm-10pm and Sundays at 9pm: second straight quarter in total viewers
- TV Source: Nielsen, Live+SD, 3Q 2023, Persons 2+ and Adults 25-54. Total Day = M-Su 6am-6am; excludes NBC re-airs (Dateline, Meet The Press); excludes 3am-6am portion of Sunday 9/24 (not yet available). Program averages exclude repeats and telecasts outside of regular time slot. “Maddow” streak as #1 primetime cable news program excludes programs not rated for the majority of a quarter. “Inside with Jen Psaki” ratings include Day 1-3 DVR playback.
- Source: Comscore, Monthly Unique Visitors, U.S. desktop internet population 2+ and mobile internet population 13+ years old, July & August 2023. Adobe Analytics for Peacock. Simplecast for Podcast Downloads.
CNN DELIVERS GROWTH IN Q3 2023 WITH TOTAL DAY AND WEEKDAY PRIME UP OVER PRIOR QUARTER
TOP FIVE NETWORK IN ALL OF CABLE IN TOTAL DAY
CNN BEATS MSNBC IN DAYSIDE AND ON THE WEEKENDS IN DEMO
TOPS MSNBC IN DEMO IN SEPTEMBER
#1 IN DIGITAL NEWS EVERY MONTH OF 2023
YOUNGEST CABLE NEWS NETWORK
September 26, 2023 – CNN saw audience growth in the third quarter of 2023, up among total viewers from Q2 2023 in both Total Day (474k Q3 23 from 467k Q2 23) and Prime (M-Su, 607k vs. 590k). In the advertiser coveted P25-54 demo, CNN tied with MSNBC in Total Day in 3Q, but paced ahead OF MSNBC in September (86k vs. 84k). CNN also ranked as a top 5 network in all of cable in Total Day (#4) for the fifth consecutive quarter among P2+.
Ahead of a series of new programming debuts coming to CNN this fall, all of CNN’s weekday prime shows posted gains among total viewers in Q3 vs. Q2, with primetime up +5% overall (678k vs. 648k). The Source with Kaitlan Collins, which premiered on July 10, continued to deliver strong numbers. Since launch, the show is up +13% among P25-54 vs. CNN Primetime’s 2Q average (143k vs. 127k), and +21% among P2+ (674k vs. 555k). Further, the show has grown its demo viewership since launching, with the last four weeks (8/28-9/22) up +11% vs. its first 4 weeks among P25-54 (7/10-8/4, 135k vs. 122k). It ranks as CNN’s second highest rated live news show among P25-54 in Q3, behind only its lead-in Anderson Cooper 360.
In dayside, CNN continues to be a top destination for cable viewers, ranking #3 in all of cable among both P25-54 and P2+, +18% ahead of MSNBC among P25-54 (107K vs. 91k).
On the weekends, CNN beat MSNBC by a wide margin among P25-54 in Q3. In weekend Total Day, CNN was ahead by +45% (71k vs. 49k), marking the 37th straight quarter CNN has paced ahead of MSNBC, while CNN was ahead +48% in prime (74k vs. 50k), the 38th straight quarter.
Audiences also continued to turn to CNN as news around the world unfolded. CNN’s live coverage of Donald Trump’s federal arrest and arraignment for 2020 election interference (Thu, 8/3, 1p-5p) ranked #1 in all of cable (236k P25-54), ahead of Fox News by +30% (182k) and MSNBC by +21% (195k). Similarly, CNN’s live coverage of Trump’s arrest in Georgia (Thu, 8/24; 7p-10p) ranked #2 in all of cable among P25-54 with 475k (behind only the NFL Network), +10% ahead of MSNBC (433k) and +36% ahead of Fox News (350k). CNN’s Georgia Election Probe Hearing coverage (Wed, 9/6; 1p-4p) ranked #2 in all of cable and #1 in cable news among P25-54 (153k), +9% vs. FXNC (140k) and +42% vs. MSNBC (107k). CNN has been #1 in cable news among P25-54 for all four of the former President’s arrests.
CNN Originals programming also continued to perform well this quarter. CNN Films’ Little Richard: I Am Everything (Mon, 9/4; 9p-11p) ranked in the top five in all of cable among P2+ in the time period (1.206 mil), more than triple MSNBC’s audience (315k). It also ranked #2 in cable news among P25-54 (161k), more than triple MSNBC’s audience (49k). CNN Original Series’ See It Loud (9p-10p: 7/9-8/6) ranked #1 among P25-54, +57% ahead of MSNBC and +10% ahead of Fox News, and The Whole Story with Anderson Cooper (Sun 8p-9p, LTD: 4/16-9/24) ranked #2 in cable news among both P25-54 and P2+, ahead of MSNBC by +88% among P25-54 and +5% among P2+.
In Q3, CNN remained the cable news network with the youngest audience with a Total Day median age of 67 years, -3 years younger than both MSNBC and Fox News (70), ahead of the launch of CNN Max on Warner Bros. Discovery’s preeminent streaming service debuting September 27.
Across CNN’s Digital platforms, according to Comscore, CNN reached 130 million multiplatform U.S. unique visitors in August, with audiences up by double-digits MoM (+11%), retaining the #1 digital news platform ranking for more than seven years running. CNN’s lead in unique visitors ahead of #2 CBS News increased by four million from July. Globally, CNN Digital also was the #1 digital news outlet in July with 149 million multiplatform global unique visitors, ahead of #2 BBC by twelve million (138 million). August domestic data and July global data is the most recent Comscore data available.
TV Source: The Nielsen Company. Based on most current Live+7 data. Total Day: 6a-6a, M-Su/M-F Prime: 8p-11p; Daytime: 9a-4p. Digital Source: Comscore Media Metrix® Multi-Platform, Custom-Defined List, Total Digital Audience, Jul ‘22, Worldwide, and Total Digital Audience – Desktop 2+ and Total Mobile 13+, Aug ’22, US.