Fox News Channel continued to dominate cable news viewership during the first quarter of 2023 while CNN had its smallest audience since 1991 among the viewers sought by advertisers.
Fox News averaged 1.4 million total day viewers to finish as the only basic cable offering to surpass the one-million benchmark as ESPN finished second with 812,000 average daily viewers.
During the primetime hours of 8-11 p.m., Fox News averaged 2.1 million to lead basic cable. ESPN finished second with 1.9 million and MSNBC managed 1.1 million to finish third while hapless CNN failed to crack the top ten with an average primetime audience of only 568,000. Fox News has topped both CNN and MSNBC in the category for 85-straight quarters.
Fox News’ audience made up 53% of the total day share of cable news total viewers and 55% during primetime, while CNN settled for only 19% of total day viewers and a gloomy 15% during primetime.
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Fox News also crushed cable news competitors among the advertiser-coveted demographic of adults age 25-54, averaging 174,000 total day viewers compared to 94,000 for CNN and only 78,000 for MSNBC. During primetime, Fox News averaged 259,000 demo viewers while CNN’s struggling primetime lineup managed only 124,000 and MSNBC was even worse with 111,000 average viewers from the critical group.
CNN finished the quarter with its smallest audience among the primetime demo since at least 1991 as the network has struggled to resonate with Americans.
“The Five” averaged 3.3 million total viewers to finish as the most-watched show on cable news. It was the sixth-straight quarter that the ensemble show co-hosted by Dan Perino, Greg Gutfeld, Jesse Watters and Jeanine Pirro finished as the top show in cable news, a remarkable run considering it airs before the primetime hours that historically dominated viewership.
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“Tucker Carlson Tonight” averaged 3.2 million to finish second, followed by “Jesse Watters Primetime,” “Hannity,” “Special Report with Bret Baier,” “The Ingraham Angle,” “Gutfeld!,” “America’s Newsroom with Bill Hemmer and Dana Perino,” “The Faulkner Focus,” “Your World with Neil Cavuto,” “America Reports with John Roberts and Sandra Smith” and Martha MacCallum’s “The Story” as Fox News offerings accounted for the top 13 programs.
The most-popular, non-Fox News program was MSNBC’s “Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell,” which finished No. 14. CNN’s most-watched show was “Anderson Cooper 360,” which managed only 703,000 average viewers to finished No. 26 among cable news programs.
Despite being CNN’s most-watched show, “AC 360” finished behind 15 different Fox News programs and 10 MSNBC offerings.
“FOX & Friends” averaged 1.2 million viewers to top “CNN This Morning” and MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” combined.
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“Cavuto Live” averaged 1.4 million viewers to finished as the most-watched cable news show on Saturdays, while “Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo” finished as the No. 1 show of the entire weekend with 1.6 million total viewers.
With the dominant performance, Fox News has now outdrawn CNN and MSNBC combined with both total day and primetime viewers, along with the critical demo, for the seventh-consecutive quarter. Along the way, Fox News aired 98 of the top 100 cable news telecasts during the quarter.
“Tucker Carlson Tonight” was the most-watched program among the key demo, averaging 443,000 viewers from the group coveted by advertisers.
All data courtesy of Nielsen Media Research.
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