Fox News Channel and USA split the basic cable Nielsen ratings race for the second consecutive week, with FNC averaging the largest total audience in primetime and total day—and USA hauling in the most adults 25-54 in primetime and total day.
According to Nielsen live-plus-same-day data for the week of Feb. 7, 2022, Fox News averaged 2.38 million total viewers in primetime, which is No. 1 on basic cable, but -6% from the previous week. FNC averaged 367,000 adults 25-54 in primetime, which is -7% from the week prior and No. 2 on all of basic cable behind USA (497,000).
Additionally, Fox News averaged 1.5 million total viewers in total day during the week of Feb. 7, making it the most-watched network on basic cable in the Monday-Sunday 6 a.m.-6 a.m. time period yet again, but -1% from the prior week. FNC averaged 237,000 adults 25-54 in total day this past week, placing it at No. 2 on basic cable (behind USA), and -3% from the prior week. Additionally, Fox shed -1% in average total day viewers and -3% in total day adults 25-54. Despite the week-to-week declines, Fox News still averaged more total viewers than CNN and MSNBC combined for the 26th consecutive week, and the gap appears to be widening, particularly in total viewers.
MSNBC earned the No. 3 ranking on basic cable in total day and primetime total viewers for the second consecutive week. The network averaged 1.025 million total viewers in primetime (-18% from the prior week) and 621,000 viewers in total day (-10% from the prior week). MSNBC averaged 114,000 adults 25-54 in primetime (-17% week-to-week) and 67,000 adults 25-54 in total day (-15% week to week). The network fell to No. 29 among the primetime demo and No. 30 among the total day demo during the week of Feb. 7.
MSNBC beat CNN in average total viewers, but fell short to CNN when it came to drawing adults 25-54.
It’s obvious that the network is hurt by Rachel Maddow‘s hiatus from primetime. The ratings trend bears that out.
CNN didn’t have a great ratings week either. The network averaged only 491,000 total viewers in primetime (-12% week to week)—No. 19 on basic cable—and 122,000 viewers from the primetime demo (-1% week to week), No. 26 on basic cable. Additionally, CNN averaged 444,000 total viewers in total day (-5% week to week)—No. 8 on basic cable—and 92,000 adults 25-54 in total day (+1% week to week), placing it at No. 16 on basic cable.
CNN beat MSNBC in adults 25-54 (in primetime and in total day), but fell short in total viewers.
Fox News’ audience has returned in full force after those Q1 ’21 struggles. The network grew by +9% from the year-ago week in total day viewers. Fox had finished No. 3 in that measurement behind MSNBC and CNN a year ago. The network also shot up +10% in total day demo viewers. The story is a slightly different in primetime. The network fell -8% in total primetime viewers and held flat in the key demo vs. the same week in 2021.
MSNBC and CNN, on the other hand, posted double-digit losses. It’s worth taking into account that the year-ago week featured the live coverage of the former-President Trump Senate impeachment trial, an event which kept viewers glued to CNN and MSNBC, in particular. MSNBC lost -65% in total day viewers and -60% in total primetime viewers, -74% in the primetime demo, and -77% in the total day demo from the comparable week in 2021. CNN fell in total day viewers (-72%), in total primetime viewers (-76%), the primetime demo (-76%) and total day demo (-76%).
On the programming front, Tucker Carlson Tonight edged The Five for the No. 1 spot (3.47 million vs. 3.465 million). Jesse Watters Primetime (2.885 million), Hannity (2.85 million), Special Report with Bret Baier (2.5 million) rounded out the top five. The Rachel Maddow Show (guest-hosted by Ali Velshi) dropped to No. 11 in total viewers (1.55 million).
Week of Feb. 7, 2022 cable news ratings, Monday-Sunday (Nielsen live-same-day data):
|• Total Viewers:||2,382,000||1,025,000||491,000|
|TOTAL DAY||Fox News||MSNBC||CNN|
|• Total Viewers:||1,498,000||621,000||444,000|
Below, the most-watched basic cable networks for the week. The left column is ranked by most to fewest average total primetime viewers, and the right column is ranked by most to fewest average total viewers across total day (6 a.m-6 a.m.).
Here’s a second cable network ranker, sorted by most to fewest adults 25-54. The left column is primetime, the right is total day.