Fox News viewers returned to the network en masse after what had been a low-rated holiday week (by FNC standards, anyway).
According to live-plus-same-day data from Nielsen, Fox News Channel averaged 1.41 million total viewers in total day during the week of Jan. 3, 2022, making it the most-watched network on basic cable in the Monday-Sunday 6 a.m.-6 a.m. time period. FNC had been the most-watched basic cable network in that daypart for 45 straight weeks. However, that streak came to an end during the week between Christmas and New Year’s (week of Dec. 27, 2021). Perhaps the network can form a new winning streak as we dive into 2022?
In addition to averaging 1.41 million total viewers in total day, Fox also averaged 223,000 adults 25-54 in total day this past week, placing it at No. 2 on basic cable behind ESPN (474,000). The network gained+15% in average total day viewers and +19% in total day adults 25-54 from the previous week.
During the week of Jan. 3, Fox News averaged 2.30 million total viewers in primetime. That’s good enough for No. 2 on basic cable behind ESPN (3.52 million average total viewers) and +32% from the previous week. Fox News finished No. 11 on basic cable among the primetime demo during holiday week. The network climbed back up to No. 2 on basic cable among the A25-54 demo this past week, averaging 365,000 viewers, a gain of +57% from the previous week.
Fox News also averaged more total viewers than CNN and MSNBC combined for the 21st consecutive week.
After a poor ratings week, MSNBC climbed back up into the top three in average total viewers (No. 3 in primetime and total day). The network averaged 1.28 million total viewers in primetime (+66% from the prior week) and 746,000 total day viewers (+40% week to week). MSNBC posted week-to-week growth among adults 25-54 as well, averaging 154,000 in primetime (+105% week-to-week) but just 88,000 in total day (+52% week to week). The network ranked No. 22 in the primetime demo and No. 24 in the total day demo during the week of Jan. 3.
MSNBC beat CNN in average total viewers and edged CNN in the primetime demo. However, it fell short to CNN in the total day demo by a slightly more substantial margin.
CNN posted losses in primetime, but saw growth in total day relative to holiday week. The network averaged just 705,000 total viewers in primetime (-5% week to week), which is No. 12 on basic cable, and 153,000 viewers from the primetime demo (-10% week to week), which is No. 23 on basic cable. Additionally, CNN averaged 548,000 total viewers in total day (+4% week to week)—good enough for No. 6 on basic cable—and 113,000 adults 25-54 in total day (+3% week to week), placing it at No. 15 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 substantial losses from the year-ago week, one which featured wall-to-wall coverage of the Wednesday, Jan. 6 insurrection on the U.S. Capitol. CNN and MSNBC put up especially huge numbers that week. In fact, CNN was the most-watched network on all of cable that week. And then as one might expect, CNN ended up seeing the steepest year-over-year losses, both in total day viewers (-80%) and in total primetime viewers (-83%). MSNBC is down -67% in total day and -66% in primetime, while Fox News—which finished behind CNN and MSNBC during the year-ago week—saw the least substantial year-over-year losses. The network is -16% in total day and -28% in primetime from the year-ago week.
On the programming front, The Five, which was the most-watched show on cable news in Q4 of last year, kicked off 2022 as the most-watched show on cable news yet again, averaging 3.44 million total viewers. Tucker Carlson Tonight averaged the most adults 25-54 on cable news last week, delivering 561,000 on average at 8 p.m.
Tucker Carlson Tonight was the second-most-watched cable news show of the week (3.25 million), followed by Hannity (2.57 million), Special Report with Bret Baier (2.49 million) and MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show (2.14 million) rounding the top five in average total viewers.
The Five was the No. 2 cable news show of the week among adults 25-54 (469,000), with Hannity (410,000), Special Report (377,000) and Fox News Primetime (363,000) rounding out the top five.
Week of Jan. 3, 2022 cable news ratings, Monday-Sunday (Nielsen live-same-day data):
|TOTAL DAY||Fox News||MSNBC||CNN|
|• Total Viewers:||1,408,000||746,000||548,000|
|• Total Viewers:||2,303,000||1,284,000||705,000|
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.