A new week, a similar trend with Fox News and ESPN going head-to-head for the Nielsen cable ratings throne.
According to live-plus-same-day data from Nielsen, Fox News Channel averaged 1.45 million total viewers in total day during the week of Jan. 10, 2022, making it the most-watched network on basic cable in the Monday-Sunday 6 a.m.-6 a.m. time period. FNC also averaged 232,000 adults 25-54 in total day this past week, placing it at No. 2 on basic cable in the daypart behind ESPN (480,000). Fox News grew by +3% in average total day viewers and +4% in total day adults 25-54 from the previous week (Jan. 3, ’22).
FNC also averaged 2.29 million total viewers in primetime, good enough for No. 2 on basic cable behind ESPN (3.85 million average total viewers), but -1% from the previous week. The network also ranked No. 2 behind ESPN among the A25-54 demo this past week, averaging 346,000 viewers, a loss of -5% from the previous week.
Despite the decline in primetime, Fox News averaged more total viewers than CNN and MSNBC combined for the 22nd consecutive week.
MSNBC ranked No. 3 for the second consecutive week in total viewers, both primetime and total day. The network averaged 1.25 million total viewers in primetime (-3% from the prior week) and 690,000 viewers in total day (-8% from the prior week). MSNBC posted week-to-week decline among adults 25-54 as well, averaging 142,000 in primetime (-8% week-to-week) and just 75,000 in total day (-15% week to week). The network ranked No. 25 in the primetime demo and No. 28 in the total day demo during the week of Jan. 10.
MSNBC beat CNN in average total viewers and edged CNN in the primetime demo. However, it fell short of CNN in the total day demo.
CNN had a mediocre ratings week, averaging just 597,000 total viewers in primetime (-15% week to week), which is No. 15 on basic cable, and 132,000 viewers from the primetime demo (-14% week to week), which is No. 28 on basic cable. Additionally, CNN averaged 482,000 total viewers in total day (-12% week to week)—good enough for No. 7 on basic cable—and 99,000 adults 25-54 in total day (-12% week to week), placing it at No. 19 on basic cable.
CNN beat MSNBC in the total day demo, but fell short to MSNBC in the primetime demo and in total viewers.
Each of the cable news networks saw losses in primetime from the year-ago week. CNN saw the steepest year-over-year losses, both in total day viewers (-78%) and in total primetime viewers (-81%). To be fair, CNN was delivering record ratings at this time in 2021. MSNBC was -62% in total day and -56% in primetime from the comparable week in 2021, while Fox News—which finished behind CNN and MSNBC during the year-ago week—saw the least substantial year-over-year losses in primetime, -8% in total viewers and -18% in the primetime demo. The year-over-year trend in total day viewing was far more positive for Fox News, relative to CNN and MSNBC. The network grew +9% in total viewers and -1% in the total day demo from the comparable week in 2021. The year-over-year growth in total day viewers is aided by new daytime shows (which launched at this time last year) America’s Newsroom with Bill Hemmer and Dana Perino, The Faulkner Focus and America Reports with John Roberts and Sandra Smith.
On the programming front, The Five, which was the most-watched show on cable news in Q4 of last year, was the most-watched show on cable news yet again, averaging nearly 3.5 million total viewers in the 5 p.m. hour. Tucker Carlson Tonight averaged the most adults 25-54 on cable news last week, delivering 544,000 on average at 8 p.m.
Tucker Carlson Tonight was the second-most-watched cable news show of the week (3.43 million), followed by Hannity (2.9 million), Special Report with Bret Baier (2.5 million) and The Ingraham Angle (2.42 million) rounding the top five in average total viewers.
After Tucker Carlson, The Five was the No. 2 cable news show of the week among adults 25-54 (479,000), with The Ingraham Angle (430,000), Hannity (425,000) and Special Report (347,000) rounding out the top five.
Week of Jan. 10, 2022 cable news ratings, Monday-Sunday (Nielsen live-same-day data):
|• Total Viewers:||2,291,000||1,248,000||597,000|
|TOTAL DAY||Fox News||MSNBC||CNN|
|• Total Viewers:||1,452,000||690,000||482,000|
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.