As Fox News Rolls, CNN Takes Distant Second

By Andrew Gauthier 


In what was a big month for breaking news, Fox News continued to assert its dominance atop the cable news ratings and CNN squeezed by MSNBC to take second place in January ratings.

Fox News had its best January ever and was the only cable news network to show a ratings increase over the previous year. While ratings for CNN and MSNBC increased in January from December, both networks showed a significant drop in total primetime viewers from a year earlier. CNN’s average primetime viewers were down 34% from 2009 and MSNBC’s were down 26%. Fox News, on the other hand, enjoyed a 22% increase in its primetime audience over January ’09.


Two top stories, the earthquake in Haiti and the Massachusetts senate election, drove the news cycle for much of January and it shows in the ratings. CNN’s daytime coverage of developing events in Haiti likely contributed to the network widening its margin over MSNBC for daytime. At Fox News, Sean Hannity had his best month ever as a solo host with a 21% increase in viewers over last January. On the night of Scott Brown‘s victory in Massachusetts, “Hannity” scored its highest rated hour ever.