Fox News Channel and MSNBC finished atop the basic cable rankings this past week in total viewers, while CNN took a tumble.
Fox News was the No. 1 basic cable network during the week of June 13, not only in average total viewers but also among adults 25-54. Despite Fox’s ratings dominance over cable, its 2.2 million total viewer average in primetime is actually -3% from what the network averaged in the daypart during the week of June 6. FNC also averaged 315,000 adults 25-54 in primetime, which is No. 1 but -12% from the week prior. Moving to total day, Fox News’ 1.36 million total viewer average is -6% from the network posted in the daypart the previous week. FNC also averaged 210,000 adults 25-54 in total day, No. 1 but -7% with the prior week.
MSNBC ranked No. 2 on basic cable last week with a 1.42 million total primetime viewer average. That’s -1% from what the network averaged in the daypart the previous week. The network also averaged 149,000 adults 25-54, No. 17 on basic cable and -7% from the prior week. MSNBC’s story was far stronger in total day, however, thanks to live afternoon coverage of the Jan. 6 committee hearings. In fact, MSNBC has ranked No. 1 during every Jan. 6 committee hearing so far, and the week of June 13 was MSNBC’s most-watched week in total day since March. The network averaged 882,000 total viewers in total day this past week, No. 2 on basic cable and +17% from the prior week. MSNBC also averaged 100,000 adults 25-54 in total day, which is +20% from the prior week and No. 13 overall on basic cable.
While MSNBC benefited significantly from daytime coverage of the Jan. 6 committee hearings, CNN did not. CNN averaged just 504,000 total viewers in primetime last week, down -41% from the week prior, when it earned a big boost from the Jan. 6 committee primetime hearing. CNN’s A25-54 viewership in primetime (118,000) was down -47% from the prior week. In total day, the network shed -13% in total viewers (432,000) and -19% in the key demo (91,000).
CNN struggled on Friday and Saturday leading into the Juneteenth holiday weekend. In fact, on Saturday, June 18, CNN averaged its smallest Saturday A25-54 audience day in nearly three decades. However, CNN did rank No. 1 in the primetime demo on Sunday, driven by its televised Juneteenth event.
How did cable news’ “big three” fare relative to the same week in 2021? (Week of June 14). Fox News gained less than +1% in average total primetime viewers but lost -12% in the primetime demo. The story in the 6 a.m.-6 a.m. total day daypart was more positive, with the network gaining a solid +15% in total viewers and +6% in the total day demo. MSNBC had a pretty strong week. The network gained +16% in total primetime viewers, -2% in the primetime demo, +17% in total day viewers and +5% in the total day demo relative to the year-ago week. CNN, on the other hand, shed -36% average total primetime viewers, -30% in the primetime demo, -25% in total day viewers and -33% in the total day demo vs. the year-ago week.
Week of June 13 cable news ratings, Monday-Sunday (Nielsen live-same-day data):
|PRIME TIME||Fox News||MSNBC||CNN|
|• Total Viewers:||2,198,000||1,423,000||504,000|
|TOTAL DAY||Fox News||MSNBC||CNN|
|• Total Viewers:||1,360,000||882,000||432,000|
On the cable news programming front, Fox News’ The Five was the most-watched show of the week (3.08 million at 5 p.m.) and the second-most-watched among adults 25-54 (433,000) at 8 p.m. Tucker Carlson Tonight came in second in total viewers (3.05 million at 8 p.m.) and No. 1 among adults 25-54 (483,000). Hannity took No. 3 in total viewers (2.62 million at 9 p.m.) followed by Jesse Watters Primetime at No. 4 (2.54 million at 7 p.m.) and Special Report with Bret Baier at No. 5 (2.245 million viewers at 6 p.m.). Fox News as a network secured the top 18 cable news telecasts for the week among adults 25-54.
How about the broader basic cable landscape? After Fox News and MSNBC, there was HGTV, Hallmark, Discovery, INSP, TLC, Food Network, History and USA rounding out the top ten most-watched basic cable networks in primetime. Fox News, MSNBC, HGTV and Hallmark were also the four most-watched basic cable networks in total day last week, followed by CNN, INSP, Food Network, USA, TV Land and ID.