Week of May 6 Basic Cable Ranker: MSNBC Is the Only Network to Avoid Week-to-Week Declines

By Mark Mwachiro 

This is TVNewser’s basic cable network ranker and cable news report for the week of May 6, 2024.

Continuous coverage of former President Donald Trump’s trial is benefiting one news network more than the others. MSNBC was the only network to avoid any week-to-week declines across the board and during both dayparts. Meanwhile, Fox News continued to lead the way in total day and primetime in both measured categories with CNN remaining in third place.

NETWORKS:

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Nielsen live plus same-day data for the week of May 6 saw FNC average 2.006 million total viewers and 186,000 viewers in the Adults 25-54 demo during primetime. The network was flat in total viewers, but fell by -12% in the demo relative to the week prior. In total day viewing, Fox News averaged 1.305 million total viewers and 147,000 A25-54 viewers for a flat result in the former category and a decline of -5% in the latter compared to the previous week.

Among all basic cable networks, Fox News fell back from second place to third place in total primetime viewers and dropped from fifth to sixth place in the primetime demo. In total day, the network held onto its No. 1 position in total viewers, but was stuck in third place in the total day demo.

MSNBC’s primetime lineup averaged 1.191 million total viewers and 117,000 viewers in the A25-54 demo for the week. Compared to the week prior, it was flat in total viewers and up +6% in the demo. In total day, MSNBC averaged 863,000 total viewers and 89,000 A25-54 viewers, translating into week-to-week gains of +3% and +2%, respectively.

Among all basic cable networks, MSNBC remained the No. 4 cable network in total primetime viewers and moved from 18th to 15th place in the demo. During total day, it remained the No. 2 network in total viewers and rose one spot from ninth to eighth in the demo.

In primetime, CNN averaged 514,000 total viewers and 98,000 viewers in the A25-54 demo for the week. That’s a drop of -13% in both categories compared to the previous week. In total day, CNN attracted 498,000 total viewers and 85,000 viewers in the demo for a +1% gain in the former category and a -3% fall in the latter week-to-week.

CNN’s primetime lineup finished the week in 11th place with total viewers and tied for 19th place with A&E in the A25-54 demo—a two-spot drop in both measured categories from the week prior. In total day, it remained at No. 5 with total viewers and dropped from No. 8 to No. 9 in the demo.

When looking at these networks’ performance to the same period a year ago:

  • During primetime, Fox News was up by +40% in total viewers and +33% in the A25-54 demo. In total day, the network saw a +14% gain with total viewers and +7% bump in the demo.
  • MSNBC’s primetime total viewers saw a +3% rise, but remained flat in the demo. During total day, the network was up by +14% and +5% in those respective categories.
  • In primetime, CNN was down -27% in total viewers and -39% in the demo. Those 2023 numbers were inflated as a result of the infamous Trump town hall held on May 10. During total day, CNN was up +8% in total viewers, but dropped -11% in the demo.

PROGRAMMING:

Fox had 11 out of the 15 most-watched cable news shows of the week, led by The Five (3.093 million viewers at 5 p.m. ET). MSNBC took the remaining four spots, with Deadline: White House with Nicole Wallace (1.780 million viewers at 5 p.m. ET) leading the way at No. 7.

The Five also took the top spot in the A25-54 demo (279,000 viewers at 5 p.m. ET), with Fox claiming 13 out of the top 15 most-watched cable news show. MSNBC’s Deadline: White House (161,000 viewers at 4 p.m. ET) came in 12th place and 14th place (160,000 at 5 p.m. ET), respectively.

Week of May 6 cable news ratings, Monday-Sunday (Nielsen Live+SD data):

PRIMETIME Fox News MSNBC CNN
• Total Viewers: 2,006,000 1,191,000 514,000
• A25-54: 186,000 117,000 98,000

 

 

TOTAL DAY Fox News MSNBC CNN
• Total Viewers: 1,305,000 863,000 498,000
• A25-54: 147,000 89,000 85,000

 

 

 

 

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