Fox News was the most-watched cable network during the week of April 26, 2021, averaging nearly 2.3 million viewers and 367,000 in the 25-54 demo during the 8-11 p.m. ET time period. In total day (6 a.m.-6 a.m. ET), Fox was the only cable net to crack 1 million viewers (1.2 million), and also averaged 210,000 in the 25-54 demographic last week.
Compared to the prior week (April 19), the network was -1% in total prime time viewers, and fell -10% in the prime time demo. In total day, Fox News was -4% in total viewers, and lost -10% of its adults 25-54 audience.
As has become the norm in recent weeks, Tucker Carlson Tonight averaged the largest audience on cable news, 2.9 million total viewers to go with 502,000 adults 25-54. Carlson drew 3.1 million total viewers to go with 601,000 adults 25-54 the previous week.
Tucker Carlson Tonight, The Five and Hannity were the top three shows on cable news for the week in total viewers and among adults 25-54.
Despite this renewed dominance over CNN and MSNBC on the 2021 ratings front, the network still isn’t quite where it was at this time last year. The comparable week in 2020 (week of April 27) featured wall-to-wall Covid-19 pandemic coverage, which caused Americans to flock to their TV sets. Additionally, all three networks aired the White House daily coronavirus task force briefings. There was just more news in general at this time last year, with Trump and 2020 being a presidential election year.
Speaking of Trump – the comparable week in 2020 featured a Fox News Sunday evening town hall with the then-president, moderated by Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum. It shouldn’t be a surprise to find that Fox News shed -39% of its average total prime time audience, and -39% of its audience in the prime time demo from that week in 2020. In total day, the network fell -38% in total viewers, and -40% in the demo.
Without a major news event to broadcast (ie. the Derek Chauvin murder trial), CNN saw audience drop off in total day and dayside. The network shed -12% of its total day audience and -17% of its audience from the total day demo from the previous week. However, the network performed admirably in prime time, +12% in total viewers, and only -2% in the demo vs. the previous week. The network finished the week as the 3rd-most-watched cable network in total day viewership, and climbed to 5th in total prime time viewership.
Compared to the same week in 2020, CNN shed -28% of its total prime time audience and dropped by -27% in the prime time demo. In total day, the network fell -35% in total viewers from last year, shed -35% in the total day demo.
MSNBC dropped from No. 2 to No. 3 on basic cable in total prime time viewers. Fox News, and a NFL Draft coverage-driven ESPN finished ahead of NBC’s politics-focused cable newser. Like CNN, MSNBC fell from the prior week in total day viewers. The network shed -3% of total day viewers and -12% in the total day demo. MSNBC gained prime time viewers, however. The network was +9% in total prime time viewers, and +6% in the prime time demo vs. the prior week.
Versus the same week in 2020, MSNBC shed -10% of its average total prime time audience, -15% of its prime time demo audience, fell -23% in total day viewers and -32% in the total day demo. Losses not as severe as those felt by Fox News and CNN, but MSNBC continues to have issues capturing the younger viewers.
Fox News, ESPN, MSNBC, HGTV, CNN, TBS, Hallmark, History, TNT, and INSP were the 10-most-watched cable networks in prime time last week. Fox News, MSNBC, CNN, ESPN, HGTV, ID, Hallmark, Food Network, INSP and History were the 10-most-watched cable networks in total day last week.
Boosted by its draft coverage, ESPN was the top cable network among adults 25-54 last week, both in prime time and in total day viewers. TBS, Fox News, HGTV, TNT, USA, CNN, Discovery, NFL Network and TLC round out the top 10 cable networks among adults 25-54 in prime time. After ESPN, Fox News, ID, HGTV, TBS, CNN, TNT, Food Network, USA and A&E round out the top 10 cable networks among adults 25-54 in prime time.
The week of April 26, 2021, Monday-Sunday (Nielsen live-same-day data):
|PRIME TIME||Fox News||MSNBC||CNN|
|• Total Viewers:||2,261,000||1,647,000||1,122,000|
|TOTAL DAY||Fox News||MSNBC||CNN|
|• Total Viewers:||1,210,000||887,000||694,000|