The three major cable news networks all saw viewership slide in April compared to the same month in 2020.
Fox News beat its rivals in primetime and total day viewers, but there were viewership drops across the board, continuing a trend from the first quarter.
Fox News averaged 2.24 million viewers in primetime, down 39% from a year earlier, while MSNBC had 1.58 million, down 22%, and CNN was at 1.03 million, down 47%. In the 25-54 demo, Fox News topped with 368,000, down 45%, compared to 276,000 for CNN, down 52%, and 227,000 for MSNBC, a drop of 32%.
The figures are from Nielsen and were released by Fox News.
In total day viewership, Fox News topped with 1.22 million, down 45%, followed by MSNBC with 953,000, down 25%, and CNN with 786,000, down 42%. In the 25-54 demo, Fox News posted 214,000 viewers, down 52%, compared to CNN with 205,000, down 48%, and MSNBC with 138,000, down 36%.
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The drop off in viewership isn’t a complete surprise: Americans in April, 2020 were still in their homes during mass Covid-19 closures, with networks seeing a spike in ratings across a number of dayparts. It also was an election year, which has traditionally given news networks an audience bump.
In April, Tucker Carlson Tonight topped total viewers with 3.02 million, followed by The Five with 2.73 million, Hannity with 2.73 million, The Rachel Maddow Show at 2.71 million and The Ingraham Angle with 2.07 million.
In adults 25-54, the rankings were Tucker Carlson Tonight with 523,000, followed by Hannity with 449,000, The Five with 431,000, The Rachel Maddow Show with 396,000 and The Ingraham Angle at 379,000.
Fox News’ late night show Gutfeld!, which debuted on April 5, averaged 1.52 million viewers, beating cable news competition on MSNBC and CNN and improving on the previous occupant of the slot, Fox News @ Night. MSNBC’s The 11th Hour with Brian Williams averaged 1.38 million, and CNN Tonight with Don Lemon was at 734,000.
In the 25-54 demo, Gutfeld! averaged 304,000, compared to 236,000 for CNN Tonight and 207,000 for The 11th Hour.
CNN, meanwhile, said that it was No. 1 in all of cable during daytime hours in the 25-54 demo, averaging 270,000 viewers. Fox News averaged 221,000 in that demo and MSNBC had 147,000. The network also said that Jim Acosta and Pamela Brown, new weekend anchors, beat the cable news competition in the 25-54 demo.