Fox News Channel’s ratings have crushed CNN and MSNBC for two years in a row after dominating the news-heavy month of February.
Fox News has now topped CNN and MSNBC in both overall and primetime, both in total viewers and the advertiser-coveted adults 25-54 demographic, for 24 consecutive months. The milestone came during a historically low month for the long-struggling CNN.
Fox News averaged 1.4 million total viewers in February, finishing as the only basic cable channel to break the one million mark. MSNBC finished second with 711,000 average viewers, followed by ESPN, HGTV and CNN.
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During the broadcast hours of 8-11 p.m. ET, Fox News averaged 2.3 million viewers. MSNBC, ESPN, TNT and HGTV rounded out the top five, while CNN failed to crack the top ten with a dismal average primetime audience of just 587,000.
In the demo most coveted by advertisers, Fox News finished with 189,000 average daily viewers compared to 89,000 for CNN and just 80,000 for MSNBC as liberal outlets continue to struggle in the crucial category. February marked CNN’s smallest audience among demos since 2012.
During primetime, Fox News averaged 299,000 demo viewers, while CNN settled for 122,000 and MSNBC just 119,000. It was CNN’s worst primetime performance in the category since 2013.
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“The Five” averaged 3.3 million viewers to lead cable news for an 11th straight month, despite airing outside primetime hours that historically dominate ratings.
“The Five” was followed by “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” “Jesse Watters Primetime,” “Hannity,” “Special Report with Bret Baier,” “The Ingraham Angle,” “Gutfeld!,” “Outnumbered,” “America’s Newsroom, “The Faulkner Focus,” “Your World with Neil Cavuto,” “America Reports” and “The Story” as Fox News rounds up the 13 most popular shows. Along the way, Fox News carried 94 of the top 100 cable news telecasts for the month.
The top-rated non-Fox News program was MSNBC’s “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell,” which averaged 1.4 million viewers and finished 14th.
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The most popular program on CNN by far was “Anderson Cooper 360,” which managed just 673,000 nightly viewers to finish 26th among cable news. Despite having CNN’s largest audience, “Anderson Cooper 360” was edged out by 15 Fox News and 10 MSNBC offerings.
“CNN This Morning,” the program on which Don Lemon infamously found himself talking about women in their prime, averaged just 360,000 total viewers for its smallest audience since it began last year. By comparison, “FOX & Friends” averaged 1.2 million viewers among the top morning cable news programs for the 23rd straight month.
“Tucker Carlson Tonight” averaged 461,000 viewers among the key demo to win that category, while MSNBC’s most-watched show among the demo, “All in with Chris Hayes,” averaged just 142,000 viewers. “AC 360” topped CNN’s depressed lineup with 133,000 demo viewers and ranked 20th among cable news programs.
— Gutfeld! topped CBS’s “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” in the key demographic for the second time in the show’s history.
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All data courtesy of Nielsen Media Research