After a week-long drop to second place, Fox News Channel regained its position as the most-watched basic cable network in total day this past week.
According to live plus same day data from Nielsen, Fox News averaged 1.44 million total viewers and 191,000 adults 25-54 in total day (No. 5 on basic cable) during the first week of 2023, which featured live coverage and analysis of the House Speaker vote. The 1.44 million represents a +31% gain from the previous week—the week between Christmas and New Year’s—while the 191,000 A25-54 average represents a +43% gain from the previous week.
In primetime, Fox News remained No. 2 on basic cable in total viewers (2.06 million), but climbed up to the No. 5 spot in A25-54 viewing (it ranked No. 19 the previous week), averaging 252,000 demo viewers. The 2.06 million average is +54% from the previous week, while the 252,000 A25-54 average is +85% from the previous week, with the substantial primetime gains driven by Speaker vote coverage as well as the end of the holiday season, when regular cable TV viewing habits typically resume.
Relative to the same week one year ago, however, Fox News lost -10% in total primetime viewers and -31% in the primetime demo. The network gained +3% in total day total viewers, but lost -14% in the total day demo, as older Americans continue to watch more linear TV news than Americans under 55.
Shifting elsewhere in the cable news universe, MSNBC saw even more week-to-week viewer growth than its direct counterparts. The NBCU-backed cable news outlet averaged more than 1.37 million total viewers and 166,000 A25-54 in primetime during the week of Jan. 2, up +65% and a notable +110%, respectively, from holiday week. In total day, the network averaged 950,000 total viewers and 120,000 A25-54 viewers during the week of Jan. 2, up +50% and +79%, respectively, relative to holiday week. Looking from a year-over-year trend basis, MSNBC again trends well. The network gained +7% in total primetime viewers, +8% in the primetime demo, up +27% in total day viewers and +36% in the total day demo vs. the week of January 3, 2022.
MSNBC ranks No. 3 total primetime viewers and No. 3 in total day viewers (behind ESPN and Fox News), No. 16 in primetime A25-54 viewers, No. 10 in the total day demo for the week of Jan. 2.
CNN’s live coverage of the multi-day House speaker vote, which started Tuesday and finally concluded in the wee hours of Saturday, delivered huge ratings for the network. In addition to being the No. 1 cable news outlet among adults 25-54 during the House speaker vote, last week represented CNN’s most-watched non-election week since the week of March 7. Additionally, the network earned its largest non-election audience since coverage of the Ukraine war in March 2022 in the key A25-54 demo.
CNN averaged 918,000 total viewers and 204,000 adults 25-54 in primetime, 740,000 total day viewers and 154,000 viewers from the total day demo, up +33%, +20%, +33% and +24%, respectively, from the prior week. Relative to the year-ago week, CNN gained +30% in total primetime viewers, +35% in total day viewers, +43% in the primetime demo and +36% in the total day demo. Those substantial year-over-year gains are driven by the aforementioned highly-rated live House speaker vote coverage
For the week of Jan. 2, CNN was a top 10 basic cable network in all dayparts, climbing to No. 5 in total primetime viewers, No. 8 in the primetime demo, No. 4 in total day viewers and No. 4 in the total day demo.
Week of Jan. 2, 2023 cable news ratings, Monday-Sunday (Nielsen Live+SD data):
|PRIME TIME||Fox News||MSNBC||CNN|
|• Total Viewers:||2,062,000||1,374,000||918,000|
|TOTAL DAY||Fox News||MSNBC||CNN|
|• Total Viewers:||1,444,000||950,000||740,000|