OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Fox News hosts continue to not only beat out their cable news rivals but also dominate them in terms of ratings and viewers. On Friday, for example, Sean Hannity, who has been with the network since its humble beginning in the mid-1990s, destroyed CNN’s “most-watched show” featuring host Anderson Cooper by bringing in five times the viewers, Mediaite reported.
In a summary of last year’s cable news ratings, Adweek reported, “Anderson Cooper 360 remained the network’s most-watched show, having averaged 868,000 total viewers in 2022.” That put him at 23rd overall in cable news programs.
But on Monday, Mediaite noted that Hannity managed to bring in 2.2 million total viewers the previous Friday, which blanketed Cooper’s less-than-stellar 441,000 viewers. In fact, MSNBC’s Alex Wagner even beat out Cooper with 1.34 million total viewers, still a distant second place behind the Fox News powerhouse.
What’s more, while CNN’s website is a monster, the broadcast network is flagging, especially with the most important advertising demographic. “CNN struggled across primetime averaging only 438,000 total viewers and 91,000 viewers in the key 25-54 age demographic, significantly behind MSNBC and Fox News,” Mediaite said.
The Western Journal reported that the report “said Fox News averaged 1.64 million viewers for the day” while “[s]econd place MSNBC hit 824,000, while CNN had only 447,000 viewers. In the key 25-54 demographic, Fox News led with 215,000 viewers, followed by MSNBC with 92,000 and CNN with 90,000.”
The outlet added:
Fox News earned an average of 2.22 million total viewers from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m., while second-place MSNBC had 135,000 and CNN had 91,000 viewers. And in the 25-54 demo, the networks had 277,000, 135,000 and 91,000, respectively, according to Mediaite.
In April, not only did Hannity become the longest-running prime-time cable news host ever, but the conservative network also continued to dominate the competition in viewership.
“Fox News’ lowest-rated show in the advertiser-coveted 25-54 age demographic nearly doubled MSNBC’s highest-rated show in the demo on Tuesday,” Mediaite reported at the time. “Fox News not only swept the demo across all time slots, its lowest-rated show still outperformed CNN and MSNBC’s highest-rated program by a wide margin. Fox’s America Reports at 2 p.m. was its lowest performer in the demo, bringing in 221,000 viewers.”
“CNN’s top-rated show in the demo, meanwhile, was Erin Burnett’s OutFront — bringing in 147,000 demo viewers. MSNBC’s top-rated show was its 9 p.m. MSNBC Prime, which brought in 116,000 demo viewers, a little more than half of America Reports’ 221,000,” the report added.
CNN has been undergoing a number of changes to its programming and talent line-up, with a number of hosts and contributors having been dismissed over the past several months in a bid to make the network more competitive.
Fox News issued a statement celebrating the fact that Hannity had been with the network for 25 years, saying, “FOX News Channel’s (FNC) Sean Hannity has notched yet another industry milestone, becoming the longest-running primetime cable news host in television history. Today marks 25 consecutive years, six months, and 15 days at the helm of a primetime cable news program, breaking the previous longstanding record* held by the late talk show host Larry King. As cable news’ most enduring personality, Hannity has been a staple of FNC’s primetime lineup since the launch of the network in 1996, where his candid style and passionate commentary have made him one of the most prominent and influential voices in the country.”
“Sean’s authenticity and insightful commentary have created one of the most enduring connections with our audience and it’s been an honor to watch him over the years. A FOX News original, he has helped innovate the industry, and we are incredibly proud of his extraordinary success,” Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott said of Hannity’s longevity and success.
Hannity said, “I am extremely grateful to FOX News Media and to our loyal, dedicated viewers whom I am proud to serve every night.”
Fox News’ @SeanHannity today becomes the longest-running primetime cable news host in TV history. Today marks 25 consecutive years, six months, and 15 days at the helm of his show, beating the previous record held by the late talk show host Larry King.https://t.co/HYTkLjmmcn pic.twitter.com/SKjIHi3tnM
— TV News Now (@TVNewsNow) April 21, 2022
Popular host Tucker Carlson’s primetime show on Fox News smashed another key barrier last year as well. Television viewership data released by Nielsen/MRI Fusion revealed that Carlson’s show was the number one most-watched show among Democrats in the key demographic of 25-54 year-olds.
The hit show “The Five” also led all cable news shows in total viewers during several ratings periods, racking up a whopping 3.4 million viewers at one point.
It was also a huge year for Jesse Watters, who is a co-host on “The Five” and now has his own show on the network. Waters took over as the permanent host of the 7 PM EST weekday time slot on Fox News last spring and he raked in 3.8 million total viewers on his first day. That represented the network’s best ratings in that timeslot in more than a year.