Fox News outdraws CNN, MSNBC combined for 17th straight week

Media top headlines December 14

In media news today, charges filed against a CNN producer of inducing minors for sex reveal shocking details, progressives erupt over Elon Musk being named TIME ‘Person of the Year,’ and The Atlantic’s David Frum suggests unvaccinated patients should be treated last in hospitals.

Fox News has outdrawn CNN and MSNBC combined in all categories for 17 straight weeks as a heavily promoted CNN special failed to resonate with Americans. 

Fox News averaged 1.5 million viewers to finish as the only network among all of basic cable to crack the one-million viewer plateau during the week of December 6-12. Hallmark Channel finished second with an average audience of 883,000 followed by 795,000 for ESPN. Fox News has now finished No. 1 among all of basic cable for 43 straight weeks among total-day viewers. 

Fox News has outdrawn CNN and MSNBC combined in all categories for 17-straight weeks. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

MSNBC averaged 684,000 to finish fourth and CNN settled for sixth place with 501,000 average viewers. 

During the primetime hours of 8-11 p.m. ET, Fox News crushed cable news competition, averaging 2.4 million compared to only 1.2 million viewers for MSNBC. However, CNN’s scandal-plagued primetime lineup finished with only 585,000 nightly viewers to finish No. 17 among basic cable. 

Lifetime, Discovery, USA Network, History, Food Network and TLC were among the basic cable offerings to outdraw CNN’s lineup of Anderson Cooper, Michael Smerconish and Don Lemon. 

“Hannity” more than quadrupled Smerconish, who has been hosting the struggling network’s 9 p.m. program after former star Chris Cuomo was terminated earlier this month. However, CNN’s long-struggling primetime lineup isn’t the network’s only issue in the ratings department. 

“CNN Heroes,” a heavily promoted Sunday evening special, managed only 422,000 viewers and an alarmingly low 42,000 among the key news demographic of adults age 25-54. The special shed 55% of its total viewers and 76% of its demo audience compared to last year. It was CNN’s second-lowest Sunday primetime performance since 1997. 

"The Five" was the most-watched cable news program of the week, averaging 3.9 million viewers. 

CNN’s only Sunday primetime lineup over the past 25 years with a smaller audience came on Feb. 3, 2013 – the night of Super Bowl XLVII. 

A repeat of Fox News’ “Life, Liberty and Levin” averaged 1.1 million total viewers and 138,000 among the demo when it was up against “CNN Heroes.” 

Fox News also dominated CNN and MSNBC among the advertiser-coveted demo, drawing an average of 239,000 viewers among the critical category compared to 101,000 for CNN and only 74,000 for MSNBC. 

“The Five” was the most-watched cable news program of the week, averaging 3.9 million viewers. “Tucker Carlson Tonight” averaged 3.2 million to finish second, followed by Hannity” with 2.7 million. “Special Report with Bret Baier” and “The Ingraham Angle” joined them among the top five as Fox News aired 14 of the 15 most-watched cable news programs of the week.

All data courtesy of Nielsen Media Research. 

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