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Here Are Cable News Ratings for May 2023

By A.J. Katz 

Below are May 2023 Nielsen ratings for Fox News, MSNBC and CNN, followed by a duo of full basic cable network rankers.

Fox News Channel:

According to Nielsen live plus same day data for May 2023, Fox News Channel averaged 1.09 million total day viewers, 1.42 million total primetime viewers, 135,000 adults 25-54 in primetime and 126,000 adults 25-54 in total day; 27 consecutive months as the top-rated cable news network in total viewers and among Adults 25-54.


How about Fox’s place in the full basic cable landscape? FNC came in at No. 3 in average total primetime viewers (down two spots from April), remained No. 1 in total day viewers, finished No. 15 in the primetime demo (down 10 spots from April) and No. 4 in the total day demo (down one spot from April).

Fox News saw substantial audience drop off in primetime with Carlson now out of the equation. The network dropped -32% in average total primetime viewers and -44% in the A25-54 demo, as well as -16% in total day viewers—and -22% in the total day A25-54 demo versus the previous month.

The year-over-year ratings trend is quite poor as well. Fox News shed -25% in total day viewers, -45% in total day demo, -38% in total primetime viewers and -62% in the primetime demo vs. May 2022.

Despite the severe audience decline, Fox News still manage to have the 10 highest-rated cable news shows in the A25-54 demo, and the top seven in average total viewers for the month of May.

The Five regained its status as the most-watched cable news show, averaging 2.63 million total viewers at 5 p.m. The roundtable talk news offering out-performed Jesse Watters Primetime (2.14 million at 7 p.m.), while Hannity (1.91 million), Special Report with Bret Baier (1.81 million at 6 p.m.) and Gutfeld! (1.65 million at 11 p.m.) round out the top five in total viewers.

The Five is also the top-rated cable news show among adults 25-54 (276,000), followed by Gutfeld! (224,000), Jesse Watters Primetime (194,000), Special Report (187,000) and Hannity (178,000) rounding out the top five.


MSNBC might not have caught up to Fox News in May 2023, but it got closer than at any point over the past two years (-257,000 primetime viewers).

According to Nielsen live-plus-same-day data, the network averaged 1.16 million total viewers in the daypart, No. 4 overall and only fewer than playoffs-carrying TNT, ESPN and Fox News. MSNBC also averaged 736,000 total day viewers in May, also No. 4 on basic cable, behind Fox News, ESPN and TNT.

In addition to ranking No. 4 in total primetime viewers (unchanged from April) and No. 4 in total day viewers (down two spots from April) MSNBC ranked No. 18 in the primetime demo (down four spots from April) and No. 11 in the total day demo (down three spots from April 2023. The network averaged 120,000 A25-54 and 85,000 A25-54 in those respective dayparts.

Relative to the prior month (April 2023), MSNBC shed -12% in total primetime viewers—and -19% among adults 25-54. The network also dropped -10% in total day viewers—and -17% in the total day demo from April.

However, while CNN and Fox News faced double-digit declines, MSNBC continued to deliver double-digit viewership growth across every key daypart in A25-54 and total viewers. The network gained +14% in total primetime viewers, +17% in the primetime demo, +16% in total day viewers and +21% in the total day demo vs. May 2022.

MSNBC’s The Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell is the network’s most-watched daily program of the month (1.485 million, No. 8 overall), while All In With Chris Hayes is the network’s top daily show of the month among Adults 25-54 (147,000, No. 11 overall).

Additionally, Deadline: White House with Nicolle Wallace is the No. 1 cable news offering at 4 p.m. among Adults 25-54 for the first time ever, and No. 1 in the hour in Total Viewers for the second consecutive month.


Outside of a highly-rated CNN live town hall featuring former President Trump, CNN mostly struggled in the May ratings department.

According to Nielsen live-plus-same-day data for May 2023, CNN averaged 494,000 total primetime viewers, No. 14 on basic cable (down 1 spot from April), and 416,000 total day viewers, No. 5 on basic cable (unchanged from April). The network also averaged 113,000 adults 25-54 in primetime, No. 20 on basic cable (down two spots from April), and 84,000 adults 25-54 in total day, No. 12 on basic cable (down two spots from April).

Compared to April, CNN is down -16% in total primetime viewers—and -16% among adults 25-54, -13% in total day viewers—and -17% among adults 25-54 in total day.

From an individual programming perspective, Anderson Cooper 360 is CNN’s most-watched show for May (646,000; No.27 overall ) and the network’s top-rated show in May among adults 25-54 (138,000; No. 18 overall).


Conservative cable news network Newsmax posted another month of primetime audience growth. The network has benefited from Tucker Carlson’s exit from Fox, with Newsmax’s 8 p.m. host Eric Bolling averaging 470,000 total viewers and 50,000 A25-54 in the hour, a gain of +81% in total viewers and +79% in A25-54 viewers from April.

Now, can Newsmax maintain these numbers in primetime through the summer? Not likely, as TV viewing numbers tend to dip in the summer months; but it will be interesting to see how the network performs this summer relative to the summer of 2022.

May 2023 cable news network ratings (Nielsen live plus same day data)

PRIMETIME Fox News MSNBC CNN Newsmax NewsNation
• Total Viewers: 1,417,000 1,160,000 494,000 298,000 94,000
• A25-54: 135,000 120,000 113,000 33,000 18,000




TOTAL DAY Fox News MSNBC CNN Newsmax NewsNation
• Total Viewers: 1,087,000 736,000 416,000 181,000 59,000
• A25-54: 126,000 85,000 84,000 21,000 11,000




May 2023 (Total Viewers)

May 2023 (Adults 25-54)