Fox News, CNN and MSNBC Nielsen ratings came back down to Earth after a strong week that was highlighted by live coverage of the Georgia senate runoff election.
Still, with Nielsen live plus same day data for the week of December 12 now in, we can confidently report Fox News Channel was the second-most-watched basic cable network of the week in primetime, has officially achieved 50 consecutive weeks as the most-watched basic cable network in total day, and has now spent a whopping 96 consecutive weeks as the most-watched network on cable news.
FNC averaged 1.33 million viewers and 169,000 adults 25-54 in total day this past week, -6% and -10%, respectively, from what the network averaged in those two categories the previous week (Dec. 5), yet No. 1 overall. Fox’s 169,000 A25-54 average viewer count places it at No. 3 on basic cable behind ESPN and NFL Network. Additionally, Fox News averaged 1.98 million total viewers and 236,000 A25-54 viewers in primetime this past week, which is -9% and -17%, respectively, from the year-ago week.
As mentioned, FNC’s 1.98 million viewer average places it at No. 2 among all basic cable networks in primetime (behind ESPN), while the 236,000 A25-54 viewer average places it tied for No. 9 among all basic cable networks in primetime with AMC and Hallmark Channel.
Relative to the same week in 2021, Fox News, like the competition (as you’ll read shortly), lost traction. The network dropped by -12% in total primetime viewers, -30% in the primetime demo, -3% in total day viewers and -21% in the total day demo.
MSNBC averaged 1.1 million total viewers and 101,000 A25-54 in primetime this past week, -25% and -43%, respectively, from the prior week. In total day, the network averaged 700,000 total viewers and 75,000 A25-54 viewers; -17% and -23%, respectively, from the prior week. MSNBC also shed -18% in total primetime viewers, -35% in the primetime demo, but only -4% in total day viewers and -5% in the total day demo vs. the week of Dec. 13, 2021.
MSNBC managed to finish ahead of CNN in the primetime demo for the second consecutive week. However, the numbers nor the finish isn’t exactly spectacular. MSNBC ranks No. 28 in primetime A25-54 viewers, No. 23 in the total day demo, in addition to being No. 5 total primetime viewers and No. 5 in total day viewers for the week of Dec. 12.
Without a special event to cover, and rebroadcasts of original series/specials in weekend primetime, CNN saw the steepest week-to-week declines of cable news’ “big three” in total day viewers, total primetime viewers and the total day demo. The network averaged just 476,000 total primetime viewers and 99,000 adults 25-54 in primetime this past week, which is -32% and -41%, respectively, from what the network drew in those measurements the prior week.
CNN averaged almost as many viewers in total day –442,000 total viewers and 83,000 A25-54–as it did in primetime this past week. The 442,000 and 83,000 is -20% and -25%, respectively, from the previous week. CNN is also -28% total primetime viewers and -25% among the primetime A25-54 demo vs. the year-ago week, a mediocre trend by the network’s standards. The network is also -15% in total viewers and -16% in the demo from the year-ago week.
For the week of Dec. 12, CNN drops to No. 22 in total primetime viewers and No. 31 in the primetime demo, No. 6 in total day viewers and tied at No. 20 in the total day demo.
Week of Dec. 12 cable news ratings, Monday-Sunday (Nielsen Live+SD data):
|PRIME TIME||Fox News||MSNBC||CNN|
|• Total Viewers:||1,978,000||1,098,000||476,000|
|TOTAL DAY||Fox News||MSNBC||CNN|
|• Total Viewers:||1,334,000||700,000||442,000|
In terms of individual programming, The Five is the most-watched cable news show for the 17th consecutive week. The news talk panel program averaged 3.175 million total viewers during the week of Dec. 12. Tucker Carlson Tonight is second place in total viewers (2.94 million at 8 p.m.), with Jesse Watters Primetime (2.735 million at 7 p.m.), Special Report with Bret Baier (2.35 million viewers at 6 p.m.) and Hannity (2.32 million at 9 p.m.) rounding out the top five.
Tucker Carlson Tonight took the top spot on cable news among adults 25-54, per usual, averaging 384,000 viewers from the measurement at 8 p.m. The Five ranks No. 2 (365,000) followed by Hannity (285,000), Gutfeld! (279,000) and Jesse Watters Primetime (267,000) rounding out the top five in the key demo.
Fox News had the 10-most-watched cable news shows for the week, and 12 of the top 15. Fox also had the top 15 cable news shows of the week among Adults 25-54.
Below, the full basic cable network rankers. No. 1 is sorted by most to fewest average total viewers, while No. 2 is sorted by most to fewest Adults 25-54.