2023 was yet another roller coaster year in the television news business. Broadcast and cable news outlets are still trying to successfully navigate the rapid changes in how Americans consume the news—increasingly moving to streaming services, podcasting and digital-based outlets—to survive and thrive. Linear news viewership, particularly among adults under 55, continues to decline on an annual basis, and a volatile economy has in many cases hurt ad revenue and forced executives to make difficult decisions on the strategic and personnel fronts.
Other major 2023 news media stories include America’s top-rated cable news brand Fox News Media having to shell out $787.5 million to tech company Dominion to settle a defamation lawsuit this year. The company parted ways with its most popular personality, Tucker Carlson, shortly thereafter.In 2023, Fox News named Lawrence Jones as a permanent co-host on Fox & Friends and also revamped its primetime lineup, moving Laura Ingraham to 7 p.m., Jesse Watters replaced Carlson at 8 p.m., Greg Gutfeld moved up an hour to 10 p.m., while Sean Hannity continues to hold court at 9 p.m. Additionally, Fox News founder Rupert Murdoch stepped down from the day-to-day at his media conglomerate, handing the reins off to his son Lachlan Murdoch this past fall.
Changing channels, CNN fired its chief executive Chris Licht this summer after just 13 months on the job, a period which included several on and off-air controversies, including the firing of Don Lemon, a controversial Donald Trump town hall, an unflattering profile in The Atlantic, not to mention record-low Nielsen ratings (although to be fair, ratings haven’t improved much since Licht’s exit). Former BBC and NY Times chief Mark Thompson would take over the network for Licht in the fall. CNN revamped its daytime lineup, and its primetime lineup in 2023, installing Kaitlan Collins as 9 p.m. host on a permanent basis, followed by Abby Phillip and Laura Coates taking over 10 and 11 p.m., respectively, on weekdays. CNN also revamped its Saturday morning lineup, giving shows to Victor Blackwell, Chris Wallace and Christiane Amanpour, and launched live programming on the CNN Max hub, which lives on the Warner Bros. Discovery streaming service, Max. Plus, CNN said goodbye to CNN Center in downtown Atlanta in 2023, and set up shop at the Techwood campus in Midtown Atlanta.
MSNBC also revised its programming lineup. Jen Psaki now owns the 8 p.m. hour on Mondays, Ana Cabrera joined MSNBC and anchors its 10 a.m. hour, with Jose Diaz Balart taking 11 a.m., Chris Jansing holding court from 1-3 p.m., and Katy Tur anchoring 3 p.m. Hallie Jackson transitioned from MSNBC to the NBC News Now streaming service. The network also announced changes to its weekend lineup, including the imminent exit of Mehdi Hasan from the Sunday 8 p.m. slot (he’ll remain a network contributor and substitute host).
Elsewhere in cable news land, upstart network NewsNation built up its afternoon and evening programming in 2023 and hosted its first-ever GOP presidential primary debate, and Newsmax saw Nielsen ratings growth for a fair chunk of the year.
That’s not even taking into account all of the changes in broadcast news (we’ll save those for another day, perhaps).
Then, there’s the proliferation of disinformation on the internet, a trend which makes producing trustworthy and accurate journalism all the more difficult, not to mention the general difficulties of covering complicated wars like Russia-Ukraine and more recently, Israel and the militant group Hamas, the latter of which started in October.
Those are some of the top TV news stories of 2023, and to mark the end of the year, we decided to compile a list of the 10-most-viewed stories published on TVNewser in 2023. Full disclosure: A handful of the most-read posts of the year are TVNewser overnight, weekly, monthly and quarterly ratings coverage, as well as stories published prior to 2023 but happened to have gotten some traction this year. Those stories are not included in the Top 10 — only standalone breaking news items, features and Q&A’s published in 2023.
But before we get into the list, we’d like to wish all of our loyal TVNewser readers a relaxing end of 2023 and let us be one of the first to say, Happy New Year!
The 2023 Newser Top 10:
On Jan. 31 of this year, Yasmin Vossoughian—who anchored MSNBC weekend afternoon coverage on a permanent basis until recently—addressed her recent absence from the network’s airwaves. She had been diagnosed with Pericarditis, which is inflammation of the lining of her heart brought on by the common cold virus.
Vossoughian explained how difficult of a month she had, detailing her recovery efforts and the additional setback she had with the discovery that she had also been diagnosed with Myocarditis, inflammation of the heart muscle.
Thankfully, Vossoughian appears to be OK now.
Click on the link above where you can watch her address her health scare.
TVNewser readers were interested in learning that Lisa Kennedy Montgomery’s Fox Business show had been canceled and replaced by a rerun of Larry Kudlow’s eponymous post-market program.
The final episode of Kennedy aired on, June 1. Kudlow took on Kennedy’s 7 p.m. slot beginning Monday, June 5.
Kennedy had been a staple of the Fox Business lineup since 2015. Though her FBN show is no longer, she remains an on-air personality on all Fox News Media platforms and continues to host her Fox News radio podcast, Kennedy Saves the World.
MSNBC made a number of changes to its weekday lineup near the start of the year, and TVNewser readers were especially interested to learn that one of those changes included MSNBC anchor Hallie Jackson leaving the cable news outlet to lead her own early-evening show on NBC News Now. Jackson, a NBC News Chief White House correspondent-turned-cable news anchor is now one of the most popular hosts on the ad-supported streaming news service. Jackson’s friend and colleague Katy Tur now owns her former MSNBC 3 p.m. timeslot.
Our readers were interested in finding out how the various U.S. networks were covering King Charles II’s coronation this past May.
Several personalities traveled to London to cover the festivities. For example, Michael Strahan, Lara Spencer and Deborah Roberts co-anchored ABC’s coverage; CBS Saturday Morning co-hosts Michelle Miller, Dana Jacobson and Jeff Glor co-anchored coronation coverage for CBS; Savannah Guthrie anchored NBC News coverage; Anderson Cooper led CNN’s special live coverage of the coronation from outside Buckingham Palace; Martha MacCallum, Ainsley Earhardt and Fox Nation’s Piers Morgan co-anchored Fox News’ coverage.
Our readers love reading about program launches and anchor changes, and that was certainly true again back in January. Our story about CNBC’s on-air changes, highlighted by Sara Eisen jumping from Closing Bell in the afternoon to Squawk on the Street in the morning, and longtime CNBC host Brian Sullivan earning the network’s 7 p.m. hour all to himself (previously led by Shepard Smith) garnered a lot of web traffic. CNBC also announced new assignments in January for Morgan Brennan, Jon Fortt, Scott Wapner and Frank Holland.
CNN experienced its fair share of negative press in 2023. But one positive development was the launch of its new daytime programming slate this past spring, CNN News Central. TV Newser readers were interested in learning about it.
John Berman, Kate Bolduan, and Sara Sidner were announced as co-anchors of the 9 a.m.-12 p.m. ET block of CNN News Central, out of New York, with Brianna Keilar, Boris Sanchez, and Jim Scuitto co-anchoring 1-4 p.m. ET edition of CNN News Central out of CNN’s Washington D.C. bureau. Scuitto has since left the program to solo-anchor live afternoon news programming on CNN Max, the new CNN hub on Warner Bros. Discovery’s subscription streaming platform.
The Israel-Hamas war, which began in earnest on Oct. 7 when the militant group launched a surprise attack on southern Israel from the Gaza Strip, is the most significant news story of 2023. The war has hit close to home to one U.S. TV newser in particular: CBS Mornings co-host Tony Dokoupil. The morning newser’s first wife and two daughters live in Israel, so October 7, and all the days since, have proven to be an especially frightening time.
Dokoupil informed the viewers live on his show that his ex-wife and daughters were indeed OK after the initial attack (and remain fine). He also provided his thoughts on the armed conflict during the same segment on the Oct. 9 broadcast.
This is one of the most-read TVNewser posts of 2023. Click on the link above to watch Dokoupil address the situation.
Apparently a lot of you out there are fans of Somara Theodore! Our item on Theodore’s jump from NBC4 Washington to ABC News to serve as a New York-based meteorologist for the broadcast network earlier this year earned tons of eyeballs.
Theodore spent six year as a member of the WRC-TV Storm Team 4, reporting chiefly for the weekend newscasts. She’s no stranger to national TV news, however, having provided wall-to-wall coverage of Hurricane Ian this past September for MSNBC.
In her new role at ABC News, which she stepped into the past March, Theodore serves as the network’s third New York-based meteorologist, working alongside chief meteorologist and managing editor of ABC News’ climate unit Ginger Zee and senior meteorologist Rob Marciano.
Kaitlan Collins had a busy year over at CNN. A rising star at the network for the past several years, Collins became a bonafide star in 2023 when former CEO Chris Licht promoted her from CNN This Morning co-anchor and chief correspondent to permanent host of the network’s pivotal 9 p.m. timeslot this past June, making her the youngest host in primetime cable news and pitting her against the likes of cable news heavyweights Sean Hannity and Rachel Maddow.
Weeks before she was officially given 9 p.m. on a permanent basis, she moderated the highly publicized and scrutinized live CNN town hall with former President and 2024 GOP candidate Donald Trump. Despite the chaotic nature of the event, Collins received mostly positive reviews for her performance.
Her ascension at CNN is one of the most notable media stories of 2023, and as evidenced from web traffic, TVNewser’s coverage of her transition from morning to primetime was quite popular among our readers.
You all LOVE reading about TV news pregnancies and births! Fox News host Kayleigh McEnany announcing her pregnancy in 2022 was one of our most-read stories last year (#9), and our story about Fox & Friends First co-host Carley Shimkus giving birth went viral earlier this year. The birthday of Shimkus’ first child also happens to be our most-read story (excluding Nielsen ratings coverage) of 2023!
Shimkus’ baby boy Brock Edward came into the world on Jan. 30 at seven pounds, one ounce, and Ainsley Earhardt announced the news during the Feb. 3 broadcast of Fox & Friends.
“Carley says ‘he is pure sweetness,'” said Earhardt.
“19 inches long,” added co-host Brian Kilmeade.
“Both mother and baby are happy and healthy and doing great,” said Steve Doocy.
Shimkus joined Fox & Friends First as a co-host in October 2021. She previously served as a reporter for Fox News Headlines 24/7, as a substitute anchor on Fox News and as a co-host for Fox Nation. She joined the company back in 2009 as a production assistant, moving up the ranks and becoming an on-air personality.