CNN in primetime tailspin, Fox News dominates ratings as Dems, Independents reportedly tune in

While ratings for every news network dropped during the first quarter of 2023, the drop was far worse for some networks than it was for others.

Take CNN, for instance.

“CNN saw the steepest declines, dropping 27 percent in total day viewers and 40 percent in the key 25-53 age demographic for the quarter when compared to last year,” Mediaite reported Wednesday, citing data from Nielsen.

CNN’s quarter demo performance, while ahead of MSNBC, was the worst the network has seen in the prime-time demo since ratings data became available in 1991. The network has only dropped below 130,000 average primetime demo viewers for a quarter twice in those thirty-some years, this quarter with 124,000 and in Q2 of 2012 with 129,000,” the site added.


Conversely, Fox News, which predictably came out as the top network, suffered drops of only 15 percent in total viewership and 38 percent in the total day demo. Despite this drop, the network still crushed its competitors.

“FOX News Channel (FNC) finished the first quarter of 2023 as cable’s most-watched network in primetime and total day viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research. Additionally, FNC beat CNN and MSNBC combined with total day and primetime viewers and the A25-54 demo for the seventh consecutive quarter,” according to a Fox News press release.

“With primetime viewers in cable news, this marked the 85th straight quarter that FNC has been number one. Additionally, FNC won every single weekday hour over the cable news competition with double and triple-digit percent advantages while delivering 98 of the top 100 telecasts in cable news,” the release continues.


Leading the charge at Fox News was host Tucker Carlson, whose nightly program, “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” dominated through the month of March.

Not only did the show reportedly dethrone “The Five” as the top show in cable news, but it also “ended the month with an average of 3.25 million total viewers and 421,000 demo viewers,” according to Mediaite.

The show performed similarly well throughout the whole first quarter.

“Tucker Carlson Tonight continued its reign as the highest-rated program in cable news in the younger 25-54 demo, averaging 3.2 million viewers, 443,000 in the demo and 299,000 in the 18-49 category for the quarter. Tucker Carlson Tonight also was the most-watched cable news show in March with 3.3 million viewers,” Fox News’ press release notes.

Driving some of these ratings have been an influx of Democrats and Independents, according to Fox News: “FNC’s cable news audience share increased to over 52% across all key dayparts and categories as more Democrats and Independents tuned in to FNC over any other network, according to data from Nielsen MRI Fusion.”

The network also outperformed its competitors on the weekend.

All this comes amid reports that an increasingly desperate CNN is trying to scoop up Gayle King as its next host.

“CNN is finalizing a deal for ‘CBS Mornings’ anchor Gayle King to host a weekly prime-time show, according to people familiar with the situation, as network boss Chris Licht experiments with new programming to counter a steep ratings slide,” The Wall Street Journal reported this week.

“Ms. King, 68 years old, is expected to begin hosting a once-a-week show this fall, while continuing her duties at CBS, the people said. CNN is also in conversation with former NBA player Charles Barkley about potentially joining a show with Ms. King, they said,” the Journal added.

News of CNN’s reported intentions emerged last month via Puck News, which noted that network boss Chris Licht “has been pitching a number of on-air talents from the worlds of news, entertainment, sports and comedy about hosting weekly, news-oriented prime time shows on his network,” including Barkley.

Barkley’s potential show in particular “would see the 11-time NBA All-Star, Hall of Famer, and current mega-popular TNT Inside the NBA analyst interviewing newsmakers, journalists, and other guests about various topics of the day.”

“The conceit is that a genuine, outspoken, often humorous figure like Barkley might be a bigger draw than the traditional self-serious newsman, and might be better suited to ask guests the kinds of questions that average Americans actually care about,” according to Puck News.


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