January ’22 Ratings: Fox News Dominates in Total Day and Prime, But Sees Year-Over-Year Decline in Adults 25-54

By A.J. Katz 

Fox News Channel opened 2022 by posting strong ratings. As per live-plus-same-day data from Nielsen, FNC marked its 11th consecutive month as the most-watched basic cable network in total day (1.41 million) and averaged more total primetime viewers in January than any other basic cable network (2.24 million). FNC also averaged 338,000 adults 25-54 in primetime and 226,000 adults 25-54 in total day this past month.

By beating both MSNBC and CNN in the opening month of 2022, Fox News has now averaged more total viewers and adults 25-54 than its aforementioned rivals on an annual basis for 20 consecutive years (since the start of 2002).

Unlike CNN and MSNBC, Fox News managed to post year-over-year growth in total day viewers (+4%). However, the network shed -12% in total primetime viewers and -20% in the primetime demo. Fox News was also down year-over-year in the total day demo (-7%).


CNN and MSNBC were down double digits versus Jan. 2021 in all relevant measurements. Why the significant discrepancy between Fox’s ratings trend and that of CNN and MSNBC?

Fox News’ Nielsen ratings were down significantly in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election. In Jan. 2021, its audience wasn’t as interested in watching coverage of the presidential inauguration, live coverage of the Jan. 6 insurrection, and the early days of the Biden administration. In fact, FNC ranked third behind CNN and MSNBC in Jan. 2021. Prior to that month, the last time Fox News had averaged fewer total day viewers than CNN and MSNBC for a month was April 2000, and the last time it finished behind both networks in total prime time viewers was July 1999.

However, things have returned to normal on the cable news ratings front. Relative to the previous month, Fox News’ ratings were essentially flat. The network grew less than +1% in total primetime viewers, shed -1% in the primetime demo, grew +1% in total day viewers and held flat in the total day demo versus December ’21.

The average Nielsen live plus same day impressions for Jan. ’22:

  • Prime time (Mon.-Sun.): 2,242,000 total viewers / 338,000 A25-54
  • Total Day (Mon.-Sun.): 1,414,000 total viewers /226,000 A25-54

On the regularly-scheduled programming front—The Five ended as the most-watched show on all of cable news, marking back-to-back months at No. 1 in total viewers. The panel program, which added Jeanine Pirro as a new full-time host earlier in the month, averaged 3.57 million total viewers and 504,000 adults 25-54.

Tucker Carlson Tonight was the No. 1 cable news program in January among adults 25-54, averaging 560,000 from the key measurement. The network’s weeknight 8 p.m. offering also averaged 3.41 million total viewers, No. 2 on cable news.

Additionally, Hannity took third place in average total viewers, posting an average of 2.86 million at 9 p.m., followed by Special Report with Bret Baier (2.62 million) with the network’s 7 p.m. hour (Fox News Primetime/Jesse Watters Primetime — 2.385 million) rounding out cable news’ top five for January in average total viewers.

Overall, FNC delivered 14 of the top 15 cable news programs in overall viewers, with 15 of the top 16 in the 25-54, and 95 of the 100-most-watched cable news telecasts for Jan. 2022.