Fox News Channel marked its 100th consecutive week as the top cable news network in total day viewers and Adults 25-54.
According to Nielsen live plus same day data for the week of February 27, 2023, Fox News is also No. 1 among ad-supported basic cable networks in total primetime viewers, averaging 2.09 million this past week, down only -1,000 total viewers from the week before. FNC also moved up one spot to No. 4 among ad-supported basic cable networks in Adults 25-54 (253,000), only behind ESPN (579,000), TNT (327,000) and TBS (265,000).
Fox News was once again the most-watched basic cable network in total day, averaging 1.375 million viewers in the daypart this past week. The network remained second in A25-54 viewers with an average of 177,000 for the week. Only ESPN averaged more (253,000).
Fox News gained total day viewers from the week before, but saw slight losses in primetime viewing. The network shed less than -1% in total primetime viewers, -1% in primetime A25-54 viewers, gained +3% in total day viewers and +6% in total day A25-54 viewers.
Fox, like its cable news competition, trended in the wrong direction on a year-over-year basis. The decline makes sense considering cable news consisted of in-depth coverage of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, as well as President Biden’s 2022 State of the Union primetime address at this time in 2022. The network shed -41% in total primetime viewers, -66% in primetime A25-54 viewers, -37% in total day viewers, and -61% in total day A25-54 viewers from the week of Feb. 28, 2022.
MSNBC remained No. 3 in total primetime viewers among ad-supported cablers, averaging 1.13 million this past week. The network placed second in total day viewers for the sixth consecutive week with 693,000. MSNBC moved past CNN in primetime Adults 25-54 (106,000 vs. 105,000). The network improved from No. 31 to No. 25 in primetime demo, and tied MTV for No. 19 in the total day demo, averaging 76,000 viewers in the measurement this past week.
MSNBC delivered a good ratings performance relative to the week before, gaining +7% in total primetime viewers, +12% in primetime A25-54 viewers, +1% in total day viewers and +6% in total day A25-54 viewers. Relative to the year-ago week (Feb. 28, 2022), however, MSNBC is -33% in total primetime viewers, -59% in the primetime demo, -28% in total day viewers and -44% in the total day demo, with those losses driven by Russia-Ukraine as well as SOTU coverage.
CNN finished No. 14 in total primetime viewers for the third consecutive week, drawing a 530,000 total viewer average, and moved one spot up to No. 4 in total day viewing with a 446,000 viewer average. CNN fell to No. 27 from No. 24 in primetime Adults 25-54, posting a 105,000 viewer average in the daypart. The network dropped three spots to No. 16 in the total day demo, averaging 84,000 viewers from the measurement this past week.
Compared to the prior week, CNN gained +2% in primetime viewers but dropped -1% in the primetime demo, -3% in total day viewers and -5% in the total day demo.
CNN traditionally sees the sharpest growth during major news event, and the steepest decline when the news cycle is quieter. Without a major breaking news event to cover this past week (ie. the early days of the Russia-Ukraine war/Biden’s SOTU), CNN saw steeper year-over-year losses than its competition. The network dropped -71% in total primetime viewers, -83% among A25-54 in primetime, -62% in total day total viewers and -75% among A25-54 watching across total day vs. the year-ago week.
Week of Feb. 27 2023 cable news ratings, Monday-Sunday (Nielsen live-same-day data):
|• Total Viewers:||2,087,000||1,130,000||530,000|
|TOTAL DAY||Fox News||MSNBC||CNN|
|• Total Viewers:||1,375,000||693,000||446,000|
In terms of individual programming, The Five remained the most-watched cable news show, drawing an average of 3.125 million viewers at 5 p.m. during the week of Feb. 27. Tucker Carlson Tonight followed with a 3.045 million total viewers average at 8 p.m. Jesse Watters Primetime (2.81 million at 7 p.m.), Hannity (2.465 million at 9 p.m.), and Special Report with Bret Baier (2.30 million at 6 p.m.) rounding out the top five.
Carlson continues to draw the most adults 25-54 on cable news, averaging 406,000 viewers from the measurement this past week at 8 p.m. The Five came in second with 335,000 viewers at 5 p.m., with Jesse Watters Primetime (319,000), Hannity (296,000) and Gutfeld! (291,000) rounding out the top five in the key A25-54 demo.
Fox News had the 12-most-watched cable news shows, 13 of the top 15, and 86 of the 100 most-watched telecasts for the week. MSNBC’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell ranks No. 12 for the second consecutive week with 1.4 million at 10 p.m., and Deadline: White House with Nicolle Wallace returned to No. 15 with 1.33 million from 4-6 p.m.
Additionally, Fox News had the top 15 cable news shows of the week among Adults 25-54.
Below, the basic cable network rankers — sorted by average total viewers followed by A25-54.
Week of Feb. 27 (Total Viewers)